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Gone Viral: Baked Feta and Tomato Pasta

pasta dish

Quick. Easy. Delicious. This ingenious recipe, made with a base of cherry tomatoes, feta cheese and olive oil, was created by a Finnish blogger and has gone viral worldwide.  

If you haven’t heard of this simple dish—sometimes referred to as “Uunifetapasta”—we are here to tell you about it.

A Healthy Version of a Social Media Sensation

An Internet search will result in hundreds of recipes. But save yourself some time. We’ve done the research for you and created a healthy version with options to fit the taste preferences of your family. 

Some recipes called for ½ cup of olive oil, which is way too oily. We reduced the amount to 3 Tablespoons and added some pasta water for added creaminess. We also eliminated the salt called for in most recipes since feta cheese is salty enough and provides all that is needed. 

We also loved the “blush sauce” created by the tomatoes and the sun-dried texture of its roasted skins.  

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 30-35 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pints (4 cups) grape or cherry tomatoes, rinsed
  • 1-2 teaspoons granulated sugar, optional (a bit of sugar helps mellow the acidity of the tomatoes and tanginess of the feta) 
  • 7-8 oz block feta cheese, a creamier feta is preferred (see note below)*
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3-6 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried oregano or Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated black pepper, or ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 8 oz (2 cups) uncooked pasta of choice (we used Campanelle)
  • 1 cup loosely packed chopped basil, or substitute 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese, optional 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400℉.
  2. Place tomatoes and garlic cloves in 13x9-inch or 3-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with sugar, if preferred, and drizzle 2 Tablespoons olive oil over tomatoes and garlic. Stir. 
  3. Move tomatoes to the edges of the dish and place the block of feta cheese in the middle.
  4. tomato pasta dish

  5. Drizzle remaining 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over block of feta. Sprinkle dried oregano, or Italian seasoning, black pepper and red pepper flakes over cheese and tomatoes.
  6. Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes until tomatoes are slightly charred and feta is nicely browned and melty.
  7. While the feta and tomatoes bake, prepare the pasta according to package directions. Save 1 cup of pasta water, if needed, to add to pasta dish later. Drain pasta.
  8. Remove baked feta and tomatoes from the oven and mash together with a fork or spoon in the same dish. (You can mash the garlic but you may prefer to remove it and mince then return to the dish.) Stir feta, tomatoes, and garlic together, making a sauce.
  9. Stir in the pasta and basil until coated. If the mixture seems dry or you want a creamier texture, add some pasta water, a few tablespoons at a time, until desired creaminess is reached.
  10. Top with Parmesan Cheese, if desired, and serve immediately right from the baking dish, or spoon into a serving bowl. If not eaten immediately, this dish can be refrigerated for a few days and is excellent reheated in the microwave.

Makes 6, 1 cup servings. 

* Any type of feta can be used in this recipe; however, a creamier cheese is preferred. Goat's and cow's milk versions are milder, while sheep’s milk feta’s tend to be sharpest. French feta is milder, creamier and less briny, while Greek feta is tangier and sharper. If feta in block form is unavailable at your local grocery store or market, crumbled feta can be packed together and used.

Variations: Make it your own! People have added chickpeas, cooked shrimp or chicken, fresh spinach leaves, chopped parsley, artichokes and kalamata olives after the feta and tomatoes are baked. If adding onions, such as sliced shallots, bake them along with the feta and tomatoes. 

Nutritional Information
Per 1-cup serving: 205.4 calories; 11.2g total fat (3.3g saturated; 0.7g polyunsaturated, 5.0g monounsaturated); 227.4mg sodium; 13.3mg cholesterol; 21.1g carbohydrate; 3.3g sugars; 1.9g fiber; 7.1g protein; 348.8mg potassium.  

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.

 

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