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
As in my last post, this wonderful dish is also part of Bon Appétit’s Most Popular Recipes of 2019. I made this and several other dishes on the list before it was compiled- apparently I was not alone! 😉
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Andy Baraghani. I added garlic and white wine. Yummy comfort food.
Yield: Serves 4
4 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 lb mixed mushrooms (such as maitake, oyster, crimini, and/or shiitake), torn into bite-size pieces (I used 10oz quartered cremini and 8oz torn shiitake)
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 lb spaghetti or 12 oz bucatini
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
2 T unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 oz Parmesan, finely grated (about 1/2 cup), plus more for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
freshly ground black pepper
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium-high. Cook half of mushrooms in a single layer, undisturbed, until edges are brown and starting to crisp, about 3 minutes. Give mushrooms a toss and continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until all sides are brown and crisp, about 5 minutes more.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to a plate; season with salt.
- Repeat with remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and mushrooms and more salt.
- Finely chop the shallots and garlic in a mini-food processor, if desired.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and return all of the mushrooms to the pot. Add shallots and garlic; cook, stirring often, until shallots are translucent and softened, about 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
- Using tongs, transfer pasta to pot with mushrooms and add cream, white wine, and 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid.
- Increase heat to medium, bring to a simmer, and cook, tossing constantly, until pasta is al dente and liquid is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
- Remove pot from heat. Add lemon zest and juice, parsley, butter, 1/2 oz Parmesan, and lots of pepper and toss to combine.
- Taste and season with more salt if needed. Adjust consistency with additional pasta water, if needed.
- Divide pasta among bowls and top with more Parmesan and parsley, as desired.
Posted in Pasta, Recipes, Vegetarian
Tags: bucatini, cremini, dinner, heavy cream, lemon, mushrooms, Parmigiano Reggiano, pasta, shallots, shiitake, spaghetti, vegetarian, white wine, wild mushrooms
This tasty and quick dish is listed as one of Bon Appétit’s Most Popular Recipes of 2019. It’s a great list! 🙂 The dish is inspired by pad kee mao, known as drunken noodles.
I used fresh noodles from an Asian grocery that were the most similar to fresh ramen noodles. This dish was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Chris Morocco. I modified the proportions and method. Great.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
2.5 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 lbs ground pork, divided
1 2 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, cut into thin matchsticks or finely chopped
10 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 1/2 T granulated sugar
2 1/2 T tomato paste
2 sprigs basil, plus more for serving
6 T hot chili paste (I used sambal oelek)
5 T soy sauce
5 T unseasoned rice vinegar
2 lbs fresh ramen noodles or 16 to 20oz dried spaghetti
2 1/2 T unsalted butter
- Heat oil in a large wide heavy pot over medium-high. (I used a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
- Add half of pork to pot, breaking apart into 6–8 large chunks with a wooden spoon. Cook, undisturbed, until well browned underneath, about 5 minutes. Turn pieces and continue to cook, turning occasionally, until pork is browned on 2–3 sides, about 5 minutes longer.
- Add ginger, garlic, sugar, and remaining pork to pot and cook, breaking up pork into small clumps, until meat is nearly cooked through, about 5 minutes longer.
- Add tomato paste and 2 basil sprigs. Cook, stirring occasionally, until paste darkens, about 2 minutes.
- Add chili paste, soy sauce, vinegar, and 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened and flavors have melded, 30–45 minutes.
- Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until 1 minute short of al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water. (I cooked 1 pound of noodles at a time for 1 minute each, removing the first batch with a bamboo strainer.)
- Add to cooked noodles to the pot with sauce along with butter and a splash of pasta cooking liquid. Simmer, tossing occasionally, until sauce begins to cling to noodles, about 1 minute. Pluck out basil sprigs.
- Adjust consistency with additional pasta water, as desired.
- Divide noodles among plates. Top with torn basil.
Posted in Pasta, Pork, Quick, Recipes
Tags: Asian, basil, dinner, drunken noodles, ginger, ground pork, noodles, pad kee mao, pork, ramen, rice vinegar, sambal oelek, spaghetti
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This recipe is absolute GENIUS. It was a genius idea for me to make it on Super Bowl Sunday too. I am usually cooking while my family is watching the game- and commercials- in another room. This year, the meal was cooked and ready to go; it was kept warm in the pressure cooker with the lid in place while I was sitting on the sofa with everyone. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I increased the garlic and used ground turkey and whole wheat spaghetti. I also made it in my stove top pressure cooker instead of an Instant Pot. We enjoyed it with garlic bread and Caesar salad. Great.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
For the Sauce:
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2-4 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
- ¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 basil sprigs, plus more thinly sliced for serving
- 8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti (not thin spaghetti), broken in half
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
- 1 cup ricotta (optional)
For the Meatballs:
- 1 pound ground turkey (or substitute veal, pork or beef)
- ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons chopped basil
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a stove top pressure cooker or Instant Pot on sauté. Stir in garlic, red pepper and black pepper, and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Stir in tomatoes, salt and basil sprigs; cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the meatballs: In a large bowl, mix together ground meat, bread crumbs, Parmesan, chopped basil, egg, salt and garlic. Roll into 1 1/4-inch balls. (I used a large cookie scoop and placed them on a large plate, shaping them into balls when I placed them into the pot.)
- Pour 1 cup water into sauce in pot, scraping up any browned bits on bottom of pot.
- Scatter uncooked spaghetti over the sauce.
- Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon oil over spaghetti, stirring gently (try to keep the spaghetti on top of the sauce), then top with meatballs.
- Cover and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Manually release the pressure, then remove the cover and stir to separate the spaghetti.
- Stir in 2 tablespoons Parmesan.
- At this point, the pasta will be almost but not quite cooked through. Place the top back on the pressure cooker (loosely) and let it sit for 3 to 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and spaghetti is al dente but not mushy.
- Serve dolloped with ricotta, if using, and sprinkled with thinly sliced basil and more Parmesan if you like.
Posted in Holiday, Pasta, Pressure Cooker, Quick, Recipes
Tags: basil, dinner, ground beef, ground turkey, Instant Pot, Italian, meatballs, parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiano, pasta, pressure cooker, ricotta, spaghetti, Super Bowl, whole wheat
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This healthy carbonara was unbelievably creamy. It was also absolutely loaded with fresh spinach. Amazing!
The purpose of the smoked gouda topping was to mimic the smokiness of the missing pancetta or bacon in this lighter, vegetarian version of “carbonara.” I thought is was equally delicious with and without it.
This recipe is from The New York Times, contributed by Kay Chun. I used whole wheat spaghetti and increased the garlic. It was a quick and delicious weeknight dish.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 7-8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 T unsalted butter
- 1 pound fresh baby spinach
- red-pepper flakes, to taste, optional
- ¾ cup grated Parmesan (2 1/2 ounces)
- 1 T fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup grated smoked Provolone or Gouda (1 1/2 ounces)
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Reserve 2 cups cooking water and drain the pasta.
- Return the pasta and reserved cooking water to the pot and heat over low. Add the butter and onion-garlic mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until most of the liquid is absorbed and sauce is slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the spinach, season with salt, plenty of pepper and red-pepper flakes, if using, and stir until spinach is wilted.
- Stir in the Parmesan and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.
- Divide the pasta among 4 bowls and top each with 2 tablespoons smoked cheese. Finish with more black pepper, if desired.
Posted in Greens, Pasta, Quick, Recipes, Vegetarian
Tags: baby spinach, carbonara, dinner, gouda, Italian, parmesan, provolone, spaghetti, spinach, vegetarian, whole wheat
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My kids are back in school! I can get back to sharing dishes that we enjoyed this summer (and probably last spring as well). I have quite a few to share. 🙂
This is a fabulous, restaurant-indulgent, late summer pasta dish. The real beauty of it is that it could be made in any season to bring back the taste of summer. It was also quick and easy to prepare- the best combination. The cheese adds creaminess to the finished dish but can easily be omitted for a vegan version.
This recipe was adapted from Bringing it Home: Favorite Recipes from a Life of Adventurous Eating by Gail Simmons with Mindy Fox. I used grape instead of cherry tomatoes, bucatini instead of spaghettini, and modified the proportions. I am definitely going to make this dish year round. Great.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
- 1 pound bucatini, spaghettini, spaghetti, or angel hair pasta
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1 small red onion or 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced, about 1 cup
- 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 pounds (about 3 pints) grape or cherry tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups loosely packed torn basil leaves, plus more for garnish
- 2-4 T finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- 3/4 cup (6 oz) fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese
- freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
- coarsely ground black pepper
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of well-salted boiling water until al dente. (Simmons recommends 2 T of kosher or fine sea salt in 4 quarts of water.)
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 12- or 14-inch skillet or wide, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion, garlic, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add the red pepper flakes, then stir in the tomatoes and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until most of the tomatoes have burst, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid, drain the pasta.
- Add the pasta, along with the reserved pasta cooking water, to the pan with the sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the pasta is coated, about 30 seconds, then stir in the basil and parsley.
- Divide the pasta among serving plates. Dollop with the ricotta and sprinkle with Parmesan and black pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil, if desired, and serve immediately.
Posted in Pasta, Quick, Recipes, Vegetarian
Tags: angel hair, basil, bucatini, cherry tomatoes, dinner, easy, fast, Gail Simmons, grape tomatoes, Italian, Parmigiano Reggiano, parsley, pasta, red onion, ricotta, spaghetti, spaghettini, summer, vegan, vegetarian
This is a cheesy and delicious vegetarian comfort food dish. The pie was inspired by roadside diner spaghetti sandwiches in New Zealand! 🙂
This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Gail Simmons. I increased the amount of garlic and spinach and modified the baking time for a convection oven. I used a combination of cremini and shiitake mushrooms. Wonderful.
- Preheat the oven to 425°, preferably on convection. Tightly wrap the outside of
a 9-inch springform pan with foil and brush the inside with butter or spray with cooking oil.
- In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti
until barely al dente; drain.
- In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until sizzling, about 1 minute.
- Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Scrape into a bowl.
- In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the spinach, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Incorporate all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Scrape spinach into the mushrooms and let cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the milk.
- Add the spaghetti, mushroom mixture, 3 cheeses, sage, thyme, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper; mix well.
- Scrape into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
- Set the pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes in a convection oven or 35 minutes in a standard oven, until bubbling and the top
- Let stand for 15 minutes. Remove the ring, cut
the pie into wedges and serve.
I’m sharing my pie at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #196, co-hosted by Jhuls @The Not So Creative Cook and Antonia @ Zoale.com. Enjoy!
One Year Ago:
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Three Years Ago:
Four Years Ago:
Posted in Casserole, Greens, Pasta, Recipes, Vegetarian
Tags: cremini, dinner, Fiesta Friday, fontina, Gail Simmons, Italian, mushrooms, New Zealand, Parmigiano Reggiano, pie, pot luck, ricotta, sage, shiitake, spaghetti, spinach, thyme, vegetarian, wild mushrooms