Summer is approaching, and soon our Sacramento gardens will be filled with an overabundance of tomatoes. This baked feta and tomato pasta is an easy way to incorporate the fruits of your garden. What makes this one dish so simple is that the feta cheese and tomatoes need minimal prep work – just dump them in the dish as is. Though this recipe uses cherry tomatoes, any small variety will do. This version has a kick of spice, but omit the chili flakes if you plan on serving it to kids. Enjoy!
Baked Feta and Tomato Pasta
- 9×13 casserole dish
- 1 (8-ounce) block of Feta , drained from liquid and kept whole
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes , about 2 pounds
- 3 medium garlic cloves , peeled but kept whole
- ⅓ cups extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
- 1 tablespoon crushed red peppers
- 1 (8-ounce) bag Fusilli pasta
- Handful of fresh basil , chopped
- Pinch of salt and pepper , to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 ºF, and set the rack on the middle shelf.
- Place the block of feta in the center of the casserole dish, and surround it with the tomatoes and garlic cloves.
- Pour ⅓ cup of olive oil over the tomatoes and garlic, and toss until combined. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil on top of the feta.
- Sprinkle the crushed red peppers over the tomatoes and olive oil, and mix to combine.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until the cheese starts to brown and the tomatoes begin to blister.
- Set the oven to 450 ºF, and allow the casserole to cook for an additional 10 minutes, until the tomatoes will start to pop.
- Meanwhile, boil a large pot of water and make the pasta per the bag instructions. Drain, and reserve ¼ of pasta water. Set to the side.
- Remove the casserole from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes, until the oil has stopped bubbling.
- Taking a spoon or a fork, gently mash the feta, tomatoes, and garlic together.
- Add the reserved ¼ cup of pasta water and add the cooked pasta.
- Toss with fresh basil and quickly stir to incorporate the ingredients.
- Salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately while hot.