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.)
- To serve, top with plenty of basil leaves.
Posted in Pasta, Recipes, Sauces, Vegetarian
Tags: baked, basil, cheese, cherry tomatoes, easy, feta, gigli, grape tomatoes, Greek, pasta, rigatoni, roasted, rotini, sauce, sheep's milk feta, spaghetti, TikTok, tomatoes, vegetarian, weeknight, Za'atar
I have a few broccoli pasta recipes to share. I’m always buying the 3 pound bag of broccoli florets at Costco when I’m on a break from my CSA vegetables. 😉
This first dish is one of the Most Popular Recipes of 2017 from New York Times Cooking. I’m surprised that I didn’t see it when it was first published- especially because it’s a sheet pan dish! Although it has the ingredients typical of a pasta casserole, more of the broccoli and toppings get crispy by the increased surface area exposed to direct heat by cooking it on a sheet pan.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I increased the amount of broccoli and used Gigli pasta. We ate it with a huge green salad. Quick, easy, and tasty. It would be even more incredible if it was topped with fresh ricotta. Next time!
Yield: Serves 6
- 2 ½ pounds broccoli florets, cut into bite-size pieces
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more as needed
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 12 ounces chiocciole, penne, or other tube-shaped pasta (I used Gigli pasta)
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ⅓ cup panko bread crumbs
- finely grated zest from 1 large lemon
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces best quality, whole milk ricotta
- fresh lemon juice, for serving (optional)
- Heat oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
- On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together broccoli, 3 T olive oil, cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon salt and the red pepper flakes.
- Roast until tender and browned at the edges, 18 to 25 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove from oven and set oven to broil.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
- In a small bowl, stir together Parmesan, panko, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and the black pepper.
- Toss cooked pasta with broccoli on baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then dollop with ricotta.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan mix, drizzle generously with oil, and broil until topping is crisped and golden, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Sprinkle with lemon juice to taste, and serve.
One Year Ago: Fresh Ricotta
Two Years Ago: Spaghetti Pizza
Three Years Ago: Penne with Radicchio
Four Years Ago: Pasta Alla Norma with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes
Five Years Ago: Movie Night Pizza
Posted in Pasta, Quick, Recipes, Vegetarian
Tags: broccoli, casserole, cumin seeds, dinner, fast, gigli, lemon zest, panko, parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiano, pasta, penne, quick, ricotta, sheet pan, vegetarian
When I have escarole in my CSA box, I try to make something new. It seems that the most classic use for escarole is in an Italian white bean soup, but I try to branch out. 😉
This is a quick, cheesy, creamy, TERRIFIC escarole pasta dish. We loved it. The recipe was adapted from Everyday Food. I used one half of a head of escarole subsidized with CSA turnip and beet greens. I also modified the proportions.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 pound to 1 pound short pasta, such as campanelle, farfalle, cappellacci, or gigli
- 1 large head escarole, trimmed and cut crosswise into 1-inch strips (I used 1/2 head escarole as well as turnip and beet greens)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 large garlic cloves, sliced
- 3/4 to 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, patted dry
- 1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 8 ounces feta, crumbled (about 2 cups)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh dill
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 1 minute less than package instructions.
- Add escarole and cook 1 minute. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. (I used an enameled cast iron pan.)
- Add garlic and cook 30 seconds.
- Add shrimp, season with salt, and cook until opaque throughout, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add pasta mixture and scant 1/2 cup pasta water and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
- Stir in yogurt, feta, and dill. If necessary, add more pasta water to create a light sauce that coats pasta. (I reserve the additional pasta water to use when reheating leftovers.)
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
One Year Ago:
Posted in Greens, Pasta, Quick, Recipes, Shrimp
Tags: beet greens, campanelle, dill, escarole, farfalle, feta, gigli, Greek yogurt, greens, Italian, pasta, shrimp, turnip greens