Kneads and Cravings: Creamy simplicity awaits with this tomato-feta TikTok-inspired pasta

If you’re anything like me, when you hear the words Tik Tok, you think of Ke$ha’s 2009 smash hit about brushing your teeth with a bottle of Jack Daniels.

In 2021, however, TikTok has taken on a whole new meaning. If you haven’t heard of TikTok, it’s a video sharing app where millions of people share short videos ranging in topic from politics to comedy to home DIY and cooking.

Recently, one recipe has taken the app by storm: a ridiculously simple tomato-feta pasta.

In a past life — about two months ago — I was a food and dining reporter in Southwest Florida, constantly cooking and eating and looking for the latest edible trends. So, when I came across this pasta recipe during one of my and my long-distance boyfriend’s virtual late-night TikTok binges, I was fascinated.

Stick a whole block of feta in a pan, surrounded by tomatoes, bake and combine with pasta?

Uh, yeah, I’ll take that with a heaping side of “Yes, please.”

The best part of making this pasta for yourself is that there really is nothing precise about it. You’ll see my recipe calls for basil and two pints of cherry tomatoes. Don’t like basil? Cool, don’t add it. Are you a tomato fiend? Great, throw some sun-dried tomatoes in there. It’s that simple.

This version is influenced by the original recipe, with a few extras ingredients I threw in to enhance the flavor.

This dish is way too rich for a humid Florida evening, but a snowy night in New England? Go for it.

From this Floridian-turned-Nutmegger to all of you, please accept this pasta recipe as my “thanks for welcoming me to the neighborhood” gift.

Tomato-feta TikTok pasta

1 box pasta (I prefer a short pasta, like farfalle)

1 8-ounce block feta cheese

2 pints cherry tomatoes

Fresh basil leaves (to taste)

Salt and pepper (to taste)

Italian seasoning (to taste)

1/2 cup olive oil

3 garlic cloves

1/2 cup pasta water

Balsamic glaze (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Add tomatoes to baking dish and toss with 1/2 cup olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss again.

Clear a space in the middle of the dish and plop that feta block in. Season feta to taste with Italian seasoning and just a pinch each of salt and pepper.

Bake for 30 minutes, until feta is golden brown and tomatoes have blistered slightly.

Meanwhile, cook a box of pasta in salted water, according to box directions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.

When feta is done, take it out of the oven, and grate or crush three cloves of garlic into the dish. Then add as much chopped basil as is desired.

Set the oven to broil and return feta and tomatoes to oven for 5 to 7 minutes, watching closely as broilers can be unpredictable.

When feta is done broiling, take it out and smash it up with your favorite cooking spoon. Mix with the tomatoes until creamy. Add pasta and toss until fully coated.

If sauce is too thick and rich (it will be) add 1 tablespoon pasta water and taste, continuing until desired consistency is reached.

Serve topped with more fresh basil and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

sarajane.sullivan@hearstmediact.com, @bysarajane on Twitter