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Baked Feta Pasta for Cold Winter Nights

Baked Feta Pasta for Cold Winter Nights

By Therese Ciesinski, GardenSMART
Photographs by Therese Ciesinski

This recipe was all the rage in 2021 – it started with a TikTok video. I’m a late adopter, so it took a while before I discovered it. This dish has now become one of my favorites. It’s very easy to make, and the leftovers hold their flavor and texture well.

This is the recipe I started with, but as I continue making it, I use fewer tomatoes and throw in sliced onions, peppers, olives, and mushrooms instead. Sometimes I also add shrimp or slices of sausage. And since feta cheese is itself a salt bomb, I skip the Kosher salt and don’t miss it. It’s just as easy to add it at the table.

I cut the red pepper flakes back to a ¼ teaspoon – a ½ teaspoon was too much heat. Don’t skip them, though. They add a nice kick to all the creaminess.

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Ingredients

  • 2 pints (17 1/2 ounces / 500 grams) cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 block (7 ounces / 200 grams) Greek feta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces medium-length dried pasta, such as campanelle, rigatoni or rotini
  • Fresh basil leaves, for serving

Step 1

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

Step 2

In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, combine the tomatoes, garlic and 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Sprinkle with some salt and toss to coat. Place the feta cheese in the center of the tomatoes and garlic, top with the remaining olive oil, and sprinkle the entire dish with red pepper flakes and a little black pepper. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the garlic has softened and the tomatoes have burst their skins.

Step 3

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta.

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Step 4

Mash the feta and tomatoes with a fork and mix until evenly combined. Mix the sauce with pasta, adding the reserved pasta water as needed if it looks a little dry. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. To serve, divide among bowls and top with plenty of basil leaves.

Serves 4.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 718; Total Fat: 40 g; Saturated Fat: 12 g; Cholesterol: 44 mg; Sodium: 596 mg; Carbohydrates: 66 g; Dietary Fiber: 5 g; Sugar: 8 g; Protein: 19 g.

 


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