TikTok Tastings with Leila- “Viral Baked Feta Pasta”

TikTok+Tastings+with+Leila-+%22Viral+Baked+Feta+Pasta%22

Leila Soleimani

If you’re like me, then TikTok has probably taken over your life. From the comedy skits, dances, and endless recipes, TikTok really has it all! Since its rise at the beginning of the pandemic, the hundreds and thousands of TikTok food videos have made trying new recipes quick, easy, and fun. There’s the whipped coffee recipe, the cloud bread, the Gigi Hadid pasta, and so many more easy recipes to make while trying to break the quarantine boredom. Foodies like me have most probably seen this Baked Feta Pasta dish all over their ForYou pages recently. 

Not only is this Mediterranean Mac and Cheese of sorts super delicious, but it is also very easy to make. The one-pan method makes clean-up super easy. While baking, the juices of the tomatoes marinate the warm, salty feta, creating the lightest, tangiest, sweetest pasta ever. It is said that this pasta used to be made so much that it once left Finland without feta cheese! The first video made about this dish, made by Cooking with Ayeh on TikTok, was posted a week ago, and it seems like everyone has already made this pasta. 

For this, the first edition of TikTok Tastings with Leila, I made the baked feta pasta so you don’t have to. Well, maybe you do have to because it is delicious. 

The baked feta pasta reminded me of something you would find on a Greek island after spending all day swimming, dancing, and tanning in the sun. It’s light, cheesy, but not too heavy, and, above all, super easy to make. The best part about this pasta is the lack of dishes you have to clean once you’re done. The one-pan method keeps everything tidy and allows all the flavors and ingredients to marinate with each other while cooking, leaving you with an incredibly addicting dish. 

I started off by adding two packs of cherry tomatoes and 5 peeled garlic cloves into a pan. I then added a block of feta cheese right in the middle of the pan. Next, I generously coated the contents in the pan with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried oregano. Don’t be shy. Add a ton of seasoning, the more the merrier! Looking back, I feel like I did not use enough. I put the pan in the 400-degree oven for 40 minutes and cooked a bag of pasta. 

When it came out of the oven, I smashed the garlic and mixed everything together before adding in the pasta with some of the pasta water. The amount of pasta water you add is totally up to you. The tomatoes naturally have a lot of juices, and the olive oil that you put in the pan also adds tons of liquid, so only add the pasta water if you feel it’s necessary. The less pasta water you put in, the creamier and thicker your pasta will be. After thoroughly mixing everything together with the pasta, I sprinkled on about a teaspoon of red pepper flakes and a bunch of chopped, fresh basil. The basil part is absolutely crucial. Finally, I served it in the same pan in which I cooked it. 

This was such an easy and fresh dish that I know I will be making again. Each bite had a perfect combination of creamy, sweet, salty, and tangy. This dish was a lot easier and a lot more delicious than expected. 

Ingredients:

2 packs of cherry tomatoes

5 garlic cloves

1 block of feta

A pack of pasta- whichever kind you like, I used fusilli

1 bunch of fresh basil

Dried oregano

Salt/pepper

Instructions

  1. Add 2 packs of cherry tomatoes to a pan and mix them with some olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, and chili flakes (to taste)
  2. Peel 5 garlic cloves and add them to the pan. Do not cut the garlic. 
  3. Create a hole in the center of the tomatoes and place the block of feta in that hole. Season the feta with the same seasonings used for the tomatoes. 
  4. Bake the dish in the oven for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. 
  5. While the dish is cooking, make one pack (16 oz) of any shaped pasta you would like. Make sure to save a half cup of pasta water.
  6. When the tomato and feta dish is done cooking, take it out of the oven and smash the garlic with a fork. Mix together the garlic, tomatoes, and feta cheese before mixing in your cooked pasta. Add pasta water depending on the desired consistency of the pasta. If you would like it to be thicker, don’t add the pasta water. 
  7. Top the dish with some fresh basil and seasonings to taste
  8. Enjoy!