TikTok Pasta Recipe
This is the story of another TikTok viral trend that I wanted to hate … but I didn't. It's not that I didn't find the idea delicious. It's just that it all seemed too simple. Sure, roasting a block of feta with popping tomatoes will be awesome. But is it enough to break the Internet?
My answer, reluctantly, is yes. It's brilliant. But dare I say, not perfect? Here are my thoughts.
It is not necessary to change the oven temperature. The OG recipe calls for baking the feta with tomatoes at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, then proving it for the last 10 minutes. After 30 minutes in the oven, I found my feta firmly set with a nice golden hue on top. To avoid burning additions like garlic and herbs (see my next note), I think it's best to keep the temperature constant.
You can play around with adding more than just tomatoes and feta. The shallots cut into quarters will turn beautiful and candied, and the crushed garlic will infuse the olive oil. Do you like spices? Add a ton of chopped chili flakes. Do you have thyme? Add a few sprigs for an earthy touch.
Adding water to pasta helps. A ladle of pasta water will help to lengthen the sauce to season the pasta more evenly and generously.
Did you make this recipe? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Tik Tok pasta ingredients
- 2 pints (20 ounces) cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- One 8-ounce block feta cheese, drained
- 10 ounces mezze rigatoni
- 1 garlic clove, finely grated
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
- Flaky sea salt, for serving
How to cook TikTok pasta
Preheat the oven to 400 °. In a large nonstick skillet or medium roasting pan, combine the tomatoes, scallions, garlic and most of the olive oil. Season with S&P and toss to combine.
Place the feta in the center of the tomato mixture and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle thyme over the tomatoes. Cook for 40-45 minutes, until the tomatoes have burst and the feta is golden on top.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water before draining it.
In the pan with the tomatoes and feta, add the cooked pasta, the pasta water kept aside and the lemon zest (if using) to the pan and stir until combined. Garnish with basil before serving.
Whether you're an avid TikTok user or just the casual Instagram user, you've likely seen baked feta noodles taking the social media world by storm. Finnish food blogger Jenni Hayrinen first created the dish in 2019 (using the hashtag #unifetapasta), but it's easy to see why this recipe went viral: cherry tomatoes and the entire block of feta are baked until they pop and soft and then with garlic, basil and tender noodles for a wonderful cheese dish. With so many variations and rave reviews on the internet, we decided to give this recipe a try. Here are some key tips and tricks to make this dish a great success.
Don't overdo the pasta
Many TikTok videos show users cooking this dish with a whole pound of pasta. Resist the urge to use the entire can and only use 8-10 ounces. You want the oven-baked tomato and feta sauce to coat the pasta well. More pasta will do for a dry dish.
Short pasta is preferred
Use short pasta for this recipe, like rigatoni, penne, or fusilli instead of long pasta like spaghetti or linguine. Short pasta will mix easily with the thick sauce and be more pleasant to eat. We especially love how the sauce fits into the corners and crevices of the mezze rigatoni!
Save your pasta water
Once the pasta has finished boiling and is just al dente, set aside some of the water from your pasta and then drain it. A drizzle of this hot, starchy water will help dissolve the sauce if it gets too thick.
You get good quality Feta
Make sure you buy a good quality feta for this recipe, especially since it is the main ingredient and flavor of this dish! We suggest using a medium or firm Greek feta made from sheep's milk only. Feta made from cow's milk tends to be more crumbly and tart than other varieties.
Don't be afraid of the amount of oil
Not only does olive oil keep tomatoes from burning, it also helps cook (or confit) tomatoes, providing a smooth and rich mouth feel. I promise you will want to use the whole 1/2 cup!
Be creative with the walk-in closet
We kept it simple with the seasoning, including salt, pepper, garlic, and basil. However, feel free to add dried oregano or an Italian seasoning mix before cooking to add flavor. But avoid lemon juice, vinegar, or Parmesan cheese, as this dish already has intense flavor and acidity.
Don't forget to season with salt
The salt balance is very important in this recipe; you can go from perfect to too salty with just a few extra pellets. We suggest adding only a small amount of salt to the cherry tomatoes, then completing the dish with a pinch of flaked sea salt. This will make your tomatoes and feta shine without overdoing it.