‘Have you heard about feta pasta?’ asked a workmate who is similarly time pressed. Aren’t we all these days? Even the retirees that I know have a moan about how busy they are. Apparently this simple dish is a recipe that went viral on social media and lead to a shortage of feta cheese, a foodstuff that Hot Stuff loves. I’m not usually one that follows the latest trends but this sounded interesting. And quick. That’s absolutely essential on a workday night.
So I gave it a go and can confirm that it’s super speedy. Just take a punnet of cherry tomatoes, a clove or two of crushed garlic and a block of feta cheese, pop them in a baking dish or pie tray, drizzle with oil then add a grind of salt and pepper. The original recipe called for chilli flakes but I don’t have any of those. So I add a a good shake of peri-peri seasoning instead. It’s my go-to flavouring. And then it just gets popped in the oven at 200 degrees celsius (Gas Mark 6) for thirty minutes. If I remember the oven heat gets notched by another twenty degrees or so for a final ten minutes of cooking. The recipe say that you should do this but I don’t always remember. It doesn’t seem to make a lot of difference to the end product when I’ve skipped this step.
Meanwhile I cook and drain some pasta. I use penne because it’s normally what’s in the cupboard but any old shape will do. When the cheesy tomatoes are done it’s just the simple task of mixing them through the pasta with a bit more olive oil to make us think that we’re in the Mediterranean. I let some basil leaves wilt into the mixture too before serving. Again that’s a deviation from the original recipe where they were cooked with the cheese and tomatoes. I think that the herby flavour is preserved better with the bit of gentle steaming that results from being added at the end rather than being blitzed for 30-40 minutes in a hot oven. But do what you like if you have a go. I’m not the pasta police!
I have to confirm it ticks and lot of boxes: easy-peasy, cheap, tasty and dead comforting. It’s definitely become a firm favourite on our weekday cooking repertoire.’