By Jena Branco, Senior Marketing Specialist, Brand & Marketing Communications, SECL
There’s a reason this baked feta pasta is an internet sensation! My twist on the very popular dish from Finland, with a salty baked feta, sweet cherry tomatoes, fresh garlic, asparagus and parsley are tossed with al dente rotini pasta to create this easy, creamy, yet delicious dish!
Baked Feta Pasta is the latest trend to go viral all over the internet and you can find tons of videos and pictures on TikTok, Twitter and on your Instagram feed.
This recipe has 8 ingredients — a block of feta cheese, EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), cherry or grape tomatoes, fresh garlic, asparagus, and a short pasta of your choice — and of course, salt and pepper to taste.
- Tomatoes – cherry or grape tomatoes work great.
- Asparagus – I added it as a veggie to the dish but you can omit if desired. I think next time, I will also add some fresh spinach.
- Olive oil – extra virgin olive oil has the best flavour, and I encourage you not to skimp on it.
- Salt and pepper – a little goes a long way since the cheese is naturally salty.
- Feta cheese – block-style feta is best and will give you the creamiest consistency (but the crumbly kind works too). Greek Feta cheese is slightly creamier and stronger flavour, but Canadian Feta made from cow’s milk also works great — this is the kind my picky son prefers.
- Pasta – short pasta (like penne, rigatoni, fusilli, or farfalle) is easier to mix in. I used rotini pasta in my dish.
- Parsley – use a generous 1/4 cup or substitute with fresh chopped basil.
- Garlic – Add half while baking and the rest as soon as it comes out of the oven.
Baked Feta pasta is a brilliant way to create a creamy pasta sauce. You basically bake a block of feta in a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish together with tomatoes, garlic, EVOO, and a little salt and pepper. When the tomatoes burst and cheese starts melting, you mash the cheese into a creamy pasta sauce, add your pasta, mix together, and you have the perfect pasta dish that can be served as a main dish or an accompaniment to a meal.
My spin on this baked feta pasta is the added asparagus as I wanted to introduce a vegetable into the dish and make it as a main meal without a meat protein in it … and it’s also the only vegetable my son doesn’t mind eating.
Origin of Feta Pasta
The Baked Feta pasta craze was started in 2019 by Tiiu Piret and Liemessa, two bloggers from Finland. Liemessa’s recipe was then adapted in the U.S. which went viral on TikTok and has became a major trend.
The best thing about this baked feta pasta dish is unlike heavy cream-based sauces which can separate, this recipe retains it’s creamy texture. Add a bit of filtered water (or pasta cooking water if you have any left), before reheating in the microwave or stove-top.
How to Make Baked Feta Pasta
This recipe is so easy. You mix everything in one dish! The veggies and cheese sauce bake together in the oven while your pasta boils on the stove, then you combine them together and you have an incredible Baked Feta Pasta dish.
- Prepare veggies – in a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish, combine tomatoes, asparagus, 1/3 cup olive oil, half of your minced garlic (two cloves), salt, and pepper. Toss to coat the veggies, then create a space in the centre.
- Add Feta cheese – place the block of feta cheese in the centre and drizzle on top with 1 Tbsp EVOO and some black pepper. Bake at 375˚F for 30 minutes in your Sharp 24” SuperSteam+™ Superheated Steam and Convection Built-In Wall Oven, until tomatoes start to rupture. If you are using a conventional oven, you will bake at 400˚F for 30 minutes.
- Cook pasta – while the baked feta is cooking in the oven, start cooking your pasta in a pot of salted water until al dente according to package instructions. Very important: Reserve 1/2 cup hot pasta water.
- Add garlic and herbs – remove the baked feta dish from the oven, and add finely chopped parsley and remaining minced garlic. Use the back of a spoon to mash the cheese, and mix with the oil and juices released from the tomatoes.
- Add pasta – drain the pasta (no need to rinse the pasta) and add it to the hot cheesy sauce. Mix until all the pasta is coated with the creamy feta sauce. To add an additional creamy texture, pour some of the reserved pasta water, in small amounts, until the desired creaminess is achieved.
Serve this dish a s a main course or as an accompaniment to a meal. Add proteins to the dish, like chicken tenders or shrimp (add during prep and it will cook with the rest of the dish in the oven) or add any veggies you like (such as sweet bell peppers, spinach, rapini, or broccolini). This recipe is so versatile and easy to make, that you can whip it up easily for dinner during the busy work week. Serve this dish with a simple salad, and your family will think that you’ve spent hours in the kitchen making it!
- 3 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1-1/2 cup asparagus (ends trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil plus 1 Tbsp to drizzle over cheese
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 225g block Feta Cheese
- 2 cups rotini pasta
- 4 garlic cloves finely minced, divided
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley or basil, finely minced
- Preheat oven to 375˚F in your Sharp 24” SuperSteam+™ Superheated Steam and Convection Built-In Wall Oven, in the Convection Bake mode for 30 minutes. If using a conventional oven, you will preheat at 400˚F.
- Add 1/3 cup olive oil, tomatoes, asparagus, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 1/4 tsp salt to a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish.
- Toss to combine. Create a space in the centre and place your block of feta in the pan. Drizzle the top with 1 Tbsp olive oil and another sprinkle of black pepper. Bake for 30 minutes (on top rack, or middle tray in a conventional oven) until tomatoes start to rupture.
- While the baked feta is cooking in the oven, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add pasta. Cook pasta according to package instructions, stirring a few times to keep the pasta from sticking. Drain pasta (reserving some cooking water if you decide to add it later).
- At about 30 minutes, the tomatoes should start to release their juices (crinkly roasted skin is the indicator). Remove from the oven and immediately stir in remaining minced garlic and parsley. Toss to combine.
- Using the back of a large spoon to press the cheese into the olive oil and stir until cheese is well incorporated in the dish.
- Stir in drained cooked pasta. Add reserved pasta water for a creamier texture, if desired. Serve warm.
- Important: Be careful with those tomatoes (the juicy centres will be very hot if you eat them right away).