Do not flip your nostril up on the TikTok feta pasta, it is gone viral for a motive

It’s shocking that it took me so long to make the feta noodles that went viral on TikTok a few weeks ago for a variety of reasons. First, it’s almost ridiculously easy to cook. Second, even though I have a whole library of cookbooks, I seem to be almost exclusively picking up new recipes from TikTok these days. After all, I already eat so much feta that it feels like one day Greece will thank me for personally contributing such a significant part of my income to GDP.

People can’t get enough of this pasta.

Katie Collins / CNET

In case you haven’t heard of it, the TikTok feta pasta is a recipe that can be traced back to Finnish food blogger Jenni Hayrinen, who said today that it has become so popular in Finland that no feta is in stores there is more. In late January, a number of TikTok developers picked up the recipe and sent it viral (the feta pasta hashtag on the platform now has nearly 515 million views).

After seeing the recipe on my For You page about a dozen times and then moving it over to Instagram, I finally decided to take one of the several blocks of feta that I always have in my fridge and turn it.

I had some reservations – are we going all-in for fresh tomatoes in February? “Really?” – but as someone who ate pasta at every meal, if that was a socially acceptable lifestyle choice, it didn’t take me much to convince myself. You may be wondering how many people have wondered on TikTok comments if it’s actually a good thing.

It’s pasta, cheese, and tomatoes – of course, it’s delicious. I knew it would be, simply because I had made variations of this dish since I was 14 and started making afternoon snacks so my friends and I could eat in bed during the school holidays. It didn’t change my life or blow my mind, but it brought me comfort and joy on a cold, gray February evening. This is the magic of cheesy pasta for you.

Some users and food reviewers were blown or completely unimpressed with the TikTok pasta, saying the recipe was oversubscribed, but I would say they miss the point. What we have here is a communal dining event that anyone can attend at a time when it is not possible to get together to break bread.

The fact that thousands (or millions, if you look at the views on TikTok) of people around the world have walked into their kitchens in the past few weeks, putting cheese on a tray, licking the salty residue from their fingers, and the quiet ones Heard slaps of cascading tomatoes around downstairs, drizzling the oil, sprinkling the spice and smelling the hot, sweet, garlicky air breathing from their ovens before everything was squeezed together to create a swirling pink carby mess – it’s remarkable when you can think about it.

Eating with others has been a bonding experience since the dawn of human civilization. It is very encouraging to know that despite everything that is keeping us apart, we are still finding ways to make eating a shared cultural experience.

The fact that the recipe is simple and fail-safe is not a mistake in my opinion. Instead, it makes that wonderful and engaging, and likely contributes to its viral success. This isn’t a good appetite, but it’s accessible to all levels – something TikTok should be gaining more recognition for. The rookie can embark on this journey and gain confidence. The expert can throw it up and find solace.

The combination of accessibility and payout – four hearty servings – sets this apart from other viral recipes that have sent the internet into a frenzy for the past year amid a pandemic-triggered lockdown. Unlike sourdough, banana bread, or “the cookies”, you always wanted to make dinner at the end of the day. So why not do that?

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It should probably not be overlooked that many of us have bumped into a wall in one way or another. If you’re anything like me, the endless cycle of cooking and doing the dishes (even with a dishwasher, so much washing up) that comes with eating every single meal in your own home has made it difficult to find the energy to to try something new. Then there is a feeling that if you branch out, the recipe should be elaborate or exotic and add new skills to your culinary arsenal.

But there is no need to turn dinner into a misguided self-improvement exercise. The TikTok pasta shows that changing the way you apply heat can be so easy. If you want to spice up the TikTok pasta and make it your own, that’s cool, but it’s also great the way it is.

I’ve seen people add extra veggies or honey or balsamic vinegar, or make it with boursin instead of feta, or use spaghetti squash instead of pasta. (They do, but carbs aren’t your enemy. This recipe has less than 500 calories for dinner. So eat the pasta if you want.) However, sometimes it’s nice to have nothing, especially during times of high anxiety than More four ingredients, some seasoning and some oil.

And with that, I did it like this (it took about 40 minutes total and I did an online practice class while it was in the oven):

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This was before I added the basil but you get the idea.

Katie Collins / CNET

ingredients

  • 200 grams / 7 ounces block of feta
  • 850 grams of mixed cherry and plum tomatoes
  • 12 cloves of garlic (because I always double the garlic)
  • 320 grams of dry pasta (I used fusilli, but any shape will do)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Chilli flakes (according to your wishes)
  • Italian herbs
  • Fresh basil

recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

  2. Place the feta in the center of the skillet or tray, put the tomatoes and unpeeled cloves of garlic around the side, trying to make sure it’s all in a single layer.

  3. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle over the spice and then shake everything well or mix with your hands (or both).

  4. Take a break to take a photo for your Instagram stories.

  5. Put tomatoes and feta in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.

  6. In the meantime, bring a pan with salted water to the boil and cook the pasta until al dente, then drain, but save some pasta water in case you need it.

  7. Take the tomatoes out of the oven and remove the garlic cloves with tongs.

  8. While letting them cool for a moment, take a fork and mash the tomatoes and feta. Make sure that no hot tomato juice pops up and hits you in the eye. If it’s too dry, add some reserved pasta water to loosen it up a bit.

  9. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of the skins, mash them and stir them back into the tomato and feta sauce with the pasta and some shredded basil.

  10. Serve in four equal portions. (The next day, it stays in the refrigerator for lunch.)

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions about a disease or health goals.

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