I first heard about this spectacularly easy viral pasta dish from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. I think I was the last to know… My daughter has seen countless people make it on TikTok, of course. 😉 She was absolutely thrilled to make it with me!
The original recipe is called “Uunifetapasta,” created by the Finnish blogger Jenni Häyrinen. The foundation of the dish is a block of feta placed in the center of a baking dish surrounded by seasoned tomatoes. After being baked, the cheese and burst tomatoes are combined to create a creamy and delicious sauce to serve over pasta. Deb Perelman incorporated chickpeas in her version- nice.
This version from the Washington Post, contributed by Aaron Hutcherson, recommended using Greek sheep’s milk feta to maximize the creaminess. I used an enameled cast iron baking pan, modified the proportions and incorporated za’atar to the seasoning on the tomatoes prior to baking. It was super creamy and tasty- and as simple and easy to prepare as expected.
Yield: Serves 6
3 pints (750 to 800 g) grape or cherry tomatoes
5 large garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
8 T (1/2 cup) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 block (10.5 oz) Greek feta cheese
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
za’atar, to taste, optional
17 to 18 oz medium-length dried pasta, such as campanile, rigatoni, or rotini (I used Gigli)
fresh basil leaves, for serving
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, combine the tomatoes, garlic and 6 tablespoons of the olive oil. (I used an enameled cast iron baking pan.)
Sprinkle the tomatoes with some salt and toss to coat. Sprinkle with za’atar, if using.
Place the feta cheese in the center of the tomatoes and garlic, top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of 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.
Remove the baking dish from the oven and stir the feta and tomatoes with a wooden spoon until evenly combined. Taste and adjust seasoning, as necessary.
Mix the sauce with pasta, adding the reserved pasta water as needed if it looks a little dry. (I incorporated quite a bit of pasta water.)
This is another weeknight dish loaded with spinach. I also incorporated my CSA turnip greens. It features many of the flavors of my favorite Greek dishes, including lemon zest, feta, and fresh herbs. I used parsley from my CSA share as well.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. It was very quick and easy to prepare. I used a large, wide enameled cast iron pot. I increased the amount of garlic and modified the cooking method.
Yield: 3 to 4 servings
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced, divided
2 to 4 large garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces baby spinach leaves (8 cups), coarsely chopped (I used 6oz spinach and 2oz turnip greens)
3/4 cup crumbled feta (3 ounces), plus more for garnish
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup fresh dill, or use parsley or cilantro, chopped
Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium, then melt butter, 30 seconds to 1 minute. (I used a large and wide enameled cast iron pot.)
Stir in about three-quarters of the scallions (saving some of the green parts for garnish) and garlic, and cook until softened, stirring frequently, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in stock and bring to a simmer.
Stir in orzo, lemon zest and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until orzo is nearly cooked through and most of the liquid is absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.
Stir in spinach (and other greens, if using), adding in batches if it doesn’t all fit in the pan at once, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.
Stir in cheese, peas, and dill/parsley/cilantro, cover the pan, and cook for another 1 minute, to finish cooking and warm the peas.
To serve, sprinkle with more cheese and the reserved scallions.
This is another “healthyish” cast iron skillet recipe from Bon Appétit. It was almost my entire CSA box in a pie. 🙂 I incorporated CSA leeks, butternut squash, and Toscano kale. Very seasonal- perfect.
I had an abundance of kale, so I made the pie in a large (12-inch) skillet. I also incorporated kohlrabi greens. Because this recipe is very adaptable, the finished pie size can be modified depending upon the volume of filling. Any other greens would work too.
The recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Anna Jones. The lemon zest was essential. We had a green salad made with my CSA romaine lettuce on the side. 🙂
Yield: 6 servings
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 large leeks, white and light green portions, cut into 1/4-inch half-moons and soaked OR 2 medium red onions, finely chopped
1/2 small butternut squash (about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 bunch Tuscan kale, ribs and stems removed, thinly sliced into 1/4-inch crosswise ribbons (I used about 8 cups)
2 to 3 large eggs, beaten to blend (I used 3 eggs for a 12-inch pie)
3 ounces Parmesan, grated (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (I used the zest of one lemon)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces frozen phyllo pastry, thawed (half a 1-pound package)
4 to 6 ounces fresh goat cheese or feta, crumbled, divided
Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 400°, preferably on convection.
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium. Add leeks or onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, 6–8 minutes.
Add squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, 8–10 minutes.
Mix in thyme and red pepper flakes and transfer to a large bowl; let cool.
Wipe out and reserve skillet.
Add kale, eggs, Parmesan, and lemon zest to squash mixture and gently mix to combine; season with salt and pepper.
If using 6 ounces of cheese, incorporate 2 ounces into the kale-squash mixture.
Working quickly so that the phyllo doesn’t dry out, layer phyllo sheets inside reserved skillet, letting 2-3 inches hang over the edge. (I placed them in a circular fashion. I also brushed some oil between every few layers.)
Spoon kale-and-squash mixture into phyllo and dot top with cheese.
Brush edges of phyllo lightly with oil and fold over filling, overlapping slightly, leaving center exposed.
Cook pie over low to medium-low heat until bottom of pastry is just golden (carefully lift up on one side with a heatproof rubber spatula so that you can take a peek), about 3 minutes.
Transfer skillet to oven and bake pie until kale is wilted and tender and phyllo is golden brown and crisp, 20–25 minutes.
Let pie cool in skillet at least 10 to 15 minutes before slicing into wedges.
Do Ahead: Pie can be baked 6 hours ahead. Let cool; store uncovered at room temperature.
One of my friends has been trying to convince me to make nachos for dinner for quite some time. My kids (who were well aware of this suggestion) were so deprived, they have ordered nachos on several occasions as an entrée when we’ve indulged at a Mexican restaurant. 😉
When I saw this recipe for “party nachos,” I thought that I could (and should) serve them for dinner! Crazy? Nope. My kids were thrilled. After all, nachos are a sheet-pan dinner. This version uses rotisserie chicken meat as a shortcut too.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Rick Martinez. I scaled down the proportions. However, I did prepare the full recipe for the rotisserie chicken and sauce, keeping half to use for tacos, etc., on another occasion.
The bottom layer was reminiscent of a enchilada pie, or taco or enchilada skillet meal- other weeknight favorites over here. The rotisserie chicken meat is coated with a fabulous, full-flavored sauce. This sauce brings these nachos to the next level. I loved all of the toppings too. Very cheesy.
When not being served for dinner, these nachos would also be a great appetizer or snack, of course.
Yield: Serves about 6
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 large red onion, chopped, divided
1 T achiote paste or tomato paste
8 ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded (I substituted 2 ancho chilies plus 4 guajillo chiles)
1 chipotle chile in adobo, chopped (or 1 T adobo sauce to keep things mild)
3 cups chicken stock
1 tsp ground cumin
1 rotisserie chicken, meat pulled from bones and shredded
1 10-oz bag frozen corn, thawed, drained
1/2 poblano chile, stemmed, seeded, chopped
4 oz crumbled feta cheese (about 1/2 cup) or finely grated Cotija cheese (about 1 cup)
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
8 to 10-oz tortilla chips
1 lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
thinly sliced radishes, cilantro leaves, avocado cubes, and pickled jalapeños, for serving, as desired
sour cream, for serving, as desired
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high until shimmering.
Cook garlic and half of onion, stirring occasionally, until tender and beginning to brown, 6–8 minutes.
Stir in achiote paste/tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until brick red, about 1 minute.
Add dried chiles, chipotle chile, stock, cumin, and 2 teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let sit until chiles are very soft, about 30 minutes.
Place a rack in the center of oven; preheat to 350°, preferably on convection.
Transfer chile mixture to a blender and purée until smooth.
Return to saucepan, stir in chicken, and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat; season with salt. Remove from heat; set chicken aside until ready to assemble. (Reserve half of this saucy chicken for another use; only half is needed for the nachos.)
Meanwhile, toss corn, chopped poblano chile, half of the feta/Cotija cheese, and remaining onion in a medium bowl until combined; season with salt.
Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray.
Arrange half of the chips in an even layer on the bottom of the baking sheet.
Top with half of the reserved chicken mixture, half of the corn mixture, and half of the cheddar.
Repeat layers with remaining chips, chicken mixture, corn mixture, and cheddar.
Bake nachos, rotating pan halfway through, until cheese is melted and edges of chips are beginning to brown, 8–10 minutes.
Serve topped with radishes, cilantro, avocado, pickled jalapeños, remaining feta/Cotija cheese, sour cream, and other desired toppings alongside.
Do Ahead: Nachos can be assembled 1 hour before baking. Cover with plastic and store at room temperature.
This phyllo-crusted savory pie is packed with caramelized summer zucchini. It is a wonderful way to gobble up an abundance of fresh squash from the garden or your CSA share. 🙂 I loved that it was baked in a cast iron skillet too.
The recipe was adapted from thekitchn.com, contributed by Grace Elkus. We ate it for dinner with a green salad but it could also be served for a special brunch or lunch- an amazing summer meal.
This is another wonderful one-pot vegetarian baked egg casserole that can be served any time of day. The title of the New York Times article about it was, “Polenta That You’ll Never Need to Stir: Baking a classic in a sea of eggs and cheese gives it complexity.” Irresistible. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Yotam Ottolenghi. I used my special grits from Charleston, South Carolina instead of polenta. I also increased the amount of garlic, reduced the red pepper flakes, and kept the corn kernels whole. I loved all of the brightness from the combination of fresh herbs. Delicious!
1/4 to 1/2 tsp red-pepper flakes, plus more for garnish
warm naan, pita, or crusty bread, for serving
Heat the oven to 375°F/200°C, preferably on convection.
If desired, add the corn to a food processor and pulse once or twice, just until roughly chopped. (I opted to leave the kernels whole.)
In a large bowl, combine the corn, spinach, cornmeal, Parmesan, scallions, 1/4 cup cilantro, parsley, dill, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and a good grind of pepper; stir to combine.
Transfer this mixture to a large, deep, oven-proof skillet, then add the milk, stock and butter, stirring gently to mix through. (I used a large enameled cast iron pan.)
Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and give everything a good whisk.
Return to the oven and bake until the cornmeal is cooked through and the mixture has thickened, about 20 minutes. Give the polenta another good whisk — it should be quite smooth and not completely set — then stir in half the feta.
Increase the oven temperature to 425°F/220°C, preferably on convection.
Use a dinner spoon to make 8 shallow wells in the polenta. Crack an egg into each well and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle the remaining feta all over, and bake until the egg whites are cooked and the yolks are still runny, 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the reserved scallions and cilantro in a bowl with the oil. Spoon this mixture all over the polenta and eggs and sprinkle with the red-pepper flakes, if desired. Serve directly from the pan.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. We ate it for dinner with a crusty sourdough baguette and a giant green salad. This quick and tasty dish can be served any meal of the day.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
3tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
1large red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
6garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp sweet paprika
1/8tsp ground cayenne, or to taste
1(28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes with their juices, coarsely chopped (I used San Marzano)
3/4 tsp kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/4 tsp black pepper, plus more as needed
5ounces feta, crumbled (about 1 1/4 cups)
6 to 8large eggs (I used 7)
chopped cilantro, for serving
hot sauce, for serving
warm pita or crusty bread, for serving
Heat oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low. (I used a large enameled cast iron pot.)
Add the onion and bell pepper. Cook gently until very soft, about 20 minutes.
Add garlic and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes; stir in cumin, paprika and cayenne, and cook 1 minute.
Pour in tomatoes and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; simmer until tomatoes have thickened, about 10 minutes.
Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Stir in crumbled feta.
Gently crack eggs into skillet over tomatoes. Season eggs with salt and pepper.
Transfer skillet to oven and bake until eggs are just set, 7 to 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with hot sauce and warm bread.