What is the Viral TikTok Pasta Trend?
Does this photo look familiar? I'm sure this recipe has floated across your many social media feeds (and maybe even some mainstream news channels) over the past several weeks. This easy tomato and feta pasta recipe was made famous by Finnish blogger Jennirinen Häy. To say that it has gone viral since then is an understatement. The dish is being made so frequently that there has been a run on solid block feta cheese - I went to 3 stores and struck out! Though the original name for the recipe was simply "baked feta pasta" it is now being referred to simply as "Tiktok Pasta".
What is the Recipe for TikTok Pasta?
This dish couldn't be more simple. Mix two whole pints of sweet cherry tomatoes with olive oil and some seasonings, nestle a block of feta cheese in the middle, and bake in a hot oven until the cheese has browned and the tomatoes are wrinkly. Then the tomatoes are smashed with the back of a spoon and the whole thing is mixed together into a sauce. Finally, cooked pasta gets thrown into the mix, and you're done.
Sounds simple. Sounds tasty. I had to try it!
What Kind Of Ingredients Do I Need For TikTok Pasta?
- Cherry tomatoes: Make sure they are cherry tomatoes and not grape tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes are sweeter and less acidic.
- Olive Oil: The original TikTok doesn't specify an amount, but you want the tomatoes to have a good hefty coating of oil. Between ¼ and ⅓ of a cup seems to be the agreement. I did not measure, but gave the tomatoes several good glugs - probably closer to ¼ cup.
- Feta Cheese: You want to use the solid block feta packaged in brine, and not the crumbles. Sheep's milk feta is suggested for a milder, creamier experience, but be prepared to pay $9-10 for a 7oz block of sheep's milk feta. Because of this recipe, there's been a run on block feta and many places are sold out. You can substitute a block of queso fresco (NOT queso blanco) and I discovered it will work just as well... because I could NOT find feta.
- Seasonings: You can play around a little here. The original recipe calls for a little salt and pepper, fresh minced garlic, and freshly-chopped basil. But I've seen versions that add a pinch of oregano, baby spinach instead of basil, etc. Experiment!
- Pasta: Literally anything, though with the chunkiness of the sauce I think it works best with "short" pasta shapes like macaroni, rotini, penne, etc. I'd been wanting to try the chickpea pastas that have been floating around lately, so I used Barilla Chickpea Rotini and it was awesome!
Most versions of the recipe recommend saving some of the pasta water if you need to loosen up the sauce. I saved about a cup of it and did need to drizzle some in to keep things nice and juicy, but I didn't need much.
All in all, it's fun to jump on the bandwagon and try out these random food trends that end up being crazy popular, but this pasta was definitely worth the hype. The sweetness from the cherry tomatoes kept the dish from being too acidic and was a good pairing for the soft, mild cheese. And it was just so stinkin' easy to make that there was really no reason not to give it a try. Enjoy!
Recipe For Viral TikTok Feta PastaPrint
The Viral TikTok Pasta
- Total Time: 50 mins
The feta pasta sensation made famous by TikTok. Sweet cherry tomatoes get a bath of olive oil and seasonings, get baked with a block of feta cheese, and then mixed in with cooked pasta. So simple and so delicious!
- 2 pints sweet cherry tomatoes, rinsed and patted dry
- 1 7oz block of feta cheese (queso fresco also works)
- Olive oil
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- Pinch of oregano
- Salt and pepper
- 2 TBS fresh basil, chopped
- 8 oz dry pasta (short shapes work best, such as rotini, macaroni, penne, etc)
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Add cherry tomatoes to a 9-inch square baking dish. Drizzle generously with olive oil (I didn't measure, but a few good glugs). Add garlic, oregano, basil, and a few shakes of salt and pepper (go easy on the salt). mix everything together until the tomatoes are well-coated.
- Nestle the block of cheese in the center of the dish and add a small drizzle of olive oil on top. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the tomatoes are wrinkled up and cheese is starting to brown.
- While the dish is in the oven, cook the pasta to al dente using salted water (follow suggestions for cook times on the packaging). Drain the pasta, conserving about a cup of the pasta water.
- Use the back of a spoon to squish the tomatoes and the cheese and then stir everything together. Add the drained pasta and stir, adding a bit of the pasta sauce as needed to loosen the sauce and keep everything moist (you don't have to use all of the pasta water that you saved)
- Add additional fresh basil if desired, and serve.
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 45 mins
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