Since lockdown hit, many have turned to social media app TikTok for some entertainment, life hacks and even recipe inspiration. The app has, over the months, introduced users to some viral food moments like the tortilla hack, mermaid toast and more. Now, it’s all about the baked feta pasta – and it’s totally worth the hype!
Though foodie Tiiu Piret posted a version of the dish on her blog in February 2018, it is Finnish food blogger Jenni Hayrinen who has helped the uunifetapasta (Finnish for “oven-baked feta pasta”) go viral thanks to her simplified version. The recipe quickly started gaining traction but it was MacKenzie Smith, the blogger behind Grilled Cheese Social, who posted a video to her TikTok of yet another rendition, that the recipe really began to take off around the world.
The dish is incredibly easy to make and is super tasty – a big reason for its virality around the world. Toss some cherry tomatoes with some olive oil and salt together in a pan, put a block of feta cheese in the centre with some more olive oil and a few red chilli flaked and throw it in the oven until softened, before mixing it all together with pasta and fresh basil.
To date, the hashtag #bakedfetapasta has over 56 million views on the social platform, where a video shared by Cooking with Ayeh has been viewed over 11 million times on its own.
Interestingly, Instacart trend expert Laurentia Romaniuk told Fox News that “feta” is currently the top trending search term on the food shopping marketplace, while other “TikTok Pasta” ingredients are trending strong among the platform’s top ten searches.
According to Instacart data, ‘feta’ is currently the number one trending search term on the marketplace. We also noticed that other ingredients from the viral baked feta pasta dish are trending right now with searches for ‘cherry tomatoes’ and ‘basil’ breaking into the top ten searches on the platform,” Romaniuk said in a statement. “We believe the tremendous increase in searches for these ingredients is largely due to consumers eagerly wanting to try the baked feta pasta TikTok recipe for themselves.”
Here is the full recipe:
500g cherry or grape tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 block of Greek feta cheese
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
340g medium-length dried pasta, such as campanelle, rigatoni or rotini
Fresh basil leaves, for serving
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
In a 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 centre 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.
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.
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.