We tried this baked feta pasta dish that is viral on TikTok
In the latest food trend at TikTok, chefs put a large block of feta cheese in a sheet pan and roast it in their oven with tomatoes – and sometimes other vegetables – and then mix everything with pasta. The result is a creamy, cheesy, salty dish that will make users of the app pass out.
The recipe is not exactly new, however: Finnish food blogger Jenni Häyrinen created the dish in 2019 and named it “Uunifetapasta”, the Finnish word for oven-baked feta noodles.
“Immediately after it was featured on my Instagram stories, I noticed the strong reaction from followers,” Helsinki-based Häyrinen told TODAY Food in an email. “I organized a #uunifetapasta live on my Instagram stories where I reposted the followers’ creations day and night for three days in a row. Other influencers and newspapers picked it up and in a couple of weeks everyone in Finland cooked them up ! “
“The stores were actually running out of feta cheese here,” said Häyrinen, whose original blog post about the dish received over three million views. “#Uunifetapasta was named Phenomenon of the Year in Finland in 2019. I’m not surprised it’s going viral elsewhere too. I know it has the potential.”
Now that Häyrinen’s creation is floating around on TikTok, the baked feta noodle dish is enjoying another round of viral recognition. After hearing the story behind the dish’s popularity, I decided to make uunifetapasta for my family for dinner.
The dish is incredibly simple: put some olive oil on the bottom of a pan, place a block of feta in the center and surround it with tomatoes. Throw in some garlic, red chillies, salt, and pepper and roast at 400 F for 15 minutes. Next, turn the heat up to 440 F and saute until you get a golden brown tint on the cheese and tomatoes.
Häyrinen suggests finishing the roasting process with a few minutes under a grill and writing on her blog post, “This could cause the fire alarm to go off, mine does it every time.”
To keep things as authentic as possible, I toasted my feta and tomatoes until our smoke alarm started to protest. Then it was time to mix the pan and add cooked pasta.
The result? Heavenly, salty, cheesy goodness. I’ve seen TikToker add extra veggies to the mix, but Häyrinen’s version was really perfect in its simplicity.
But what does Häyrinen think of the changes to her recipe that she saw in the app?
“I love to see different variations,” she said. “The whole point of why I do this is to inspire others to cook and share ideas.”
Häyrinen saw so many different settings of her dish that she created a different version with asparagus, which she believed was also very popular with her Finnish followers.
“The original recipe was created because I needed a quick and easy lunch,” said Häyrinen. “I got hungry and longed for oven-baked feta. I decided to make a meal out of it, add tomatoes to create a sauce, and pair it with pasta. It’s easy, super tasty and it doesn’t hurt that it vegetarian and instagrammable when the feta comes out of the oven. “