A serving dish and bowl both filled with baked pasta with shrimp, feta, and tomatoes, with a fork on the side.

If you know anything about me, you know I’m not trendy. In culture, food, or fashion. I mean, I have shoes that are older than most of you and I happily wear them while dancing to disco in the living room. The only time I have a modicum of hipness is when so much time has passed that my old standbys are suddenly chic. So I surprised myself when I made one of TikTok’s break-out recipes: baked feta pasta. And here’s the kicker: I’m not even a fan of feta. But I secretly made the recipe because I was certain it wouldn’t be worth the hype and all those millions of adoring sheeple simply had no taste.

Baked Feta Pasta Prep.

Boy was I wrong.

The recipe is a cinch to make, and it’s indeed knock-it-out-of-the-park good. So good, in fact, The One and I have had it about once a week for the past month.

The dish has a long pedigree. Tiiu Piret first posted a version of the dish on her blog in early 2018, and then Jenni Hayrinen, a Finnish blogger, whipped up a simpler version she called uunifetapasta (“oven-baked feta pasta”), which went viral in Finland. And the rest is TikTok history.

For my version, I added shrimp to the dish as well as lemon zest. I also played around with the herb profile. I like the earthy flavor of thyme and the grassiness of parsley, so in they went. What came out of the oven was something pretty amazing. I hope you’ll agree.–David Leite

A serving dish and bowl both filled with baked pasta with shrimp, feta, and tomatoes, with a fork on the side.
A serving dish and bowl both filled with baked pasta with shrimp, feta, and tomatoes, with a fork on the side.

Baked Feta Pasta with Shrimp

4.86 / 7 votes
This TikTok-famous pasta gets a dressing up with loads of shrimp and the addition of thyme and lemon zest. If you're in the mood to dirty more than one pot, consider grilling or sautéing the shrimp and adding them to the finished pasta dish. A lovely and simple side salad completes the meal.
David Leite
CourseMains
CuisineInternational
Servings4 servings
Calories827 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound (about 2 pints) cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • Small bunch of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • One (7-ounce) block Greek sheep feta cheese, NOT cow feta; it can become grainy when melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound medium or large shrimp, shelled and cleaned
  • 12 ounces of your favorite short pasta, such as gemelli, rigatoni, or rotini
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for serving
  • Zest of 1 lemon, preferably organic

Instructions 

  • Position a rack in the middle of the oven and crank the heat to 400°F (200°C).
  • Dump the tomatoes and garlic in a 9-by-13-inch (23-by 33-cm) baking dish. Strew the thyme over the tomatoes and drizzle the whole thing with 1/4 cup oil. Sprinkle with salt and stir to coat.
  • Nestle the feta cheese in the middle of the dish and drizzle with the remaining 1/4 cup oil. Sprinkle the entire dish with red pepper flakes and a wee bit of black pepper.
  • Bake until the tomatoes are lightly charred and have burst, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and nestle the shrimp among the tomatoes. Return the dish to the oven and continue baking until the shrimp is cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes.
  • While the shrimp is cooking, bring a large of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until just al dente—about a minute less than specified on the package. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and then the pasta.
  • Remove the thyme sprigs and discard. Stir the feta-tomato-shrimp mixture until evenly mixed.
  • Pour the pasta into the dish and toss completely. If the dish looks a bit dry, add some of the reserved pasta water.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Top with the parsley and lemon zest and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 portionCalories: 827 kcalCarbohydrates: 72 gProtein: 43 gFat: 41 gSaturated Fat: 12 gMonounsaturated Fat: 22 gCholesterol: 330 mgSodium: 1449 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 7 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Photo © 2021 David Leite. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I had three bags of tricolor spumoni pasta in my pantry just waiting for a recipe like this one. The photo for this baked feta pasta with shrimp and tomatoes was colorful enough that it didn’t need tricolor pasta. In this case, though, more can be more and it was. If I had plain spumoni, I would have used it. The reading of the recipe alone conjured all sorts of saucy pasta. All those crevices to absorb a baked sauce flavored with tomato, feta, lemon, and shrimp…Twenty minutes of hands-on time, a little baking, a little stirring, and a lot of delicate flavor.

I happened to have multi-colored cherry and grape tomatoes so I used those. Their slightly different sizes resulted in different levels of lightly charred. This wasn’t an issue once blanketed in the feta lava. The thyme and lemon were complementary as one would expect. Although I used the pepper flakes during the baking, I added the same amount in the finishing with the lemon zest and parsley. This provided an extra tickle and was perfect for us. I didn’t need to add any pasta water or additional salt. These two elements are bound to differ from cook to cook based on the saltiness and creaminess of the feta and absorbency of the pasta. My spumoni was a glorious pasta shape for this recipe as I’m sure any of the pasta mentioned in the recipe would be. Any short pasta with texture to capture the sauce would work. I’d like to say that the leftovers warmed up nicely but there weren’t any leftovers. Served with a simple garden salad dressed in lemon thyme vinaigrette. Definitely a winner recipe!

A white bowl of baked feta pasta with shrimp with a lemon peel on the side.

The famous TikTok recipe plus shrimp! This baked feta pasta with shrimp and tomatoes is a great weeknight dinner or something I can make for company in a hurry. The recipe is so flavorful and easy I almost have trouble calling it cooking. The recipe is accurate as is, my only suggestion would be to pull the shrimp out after 8 minutes. The residual heat from the pan and hot pasta cooked them a little more than I’d like.

I used feta with tomato and basil as that was all my market had (and I’d buy again, I liked the basil). I also added a handful of chopped spring onions at the end for a little color and texture. I did taste before doing so and it was certainly great without. I’m glad I picked rotini so none of the wonderful sauce was wasted. I didn’t have to add any pasta water at the end. I loved the spiciness of the pepper flake and the amount of garlic. This is a keeper for sure. I served it with a strawberry spinach salad since local berries are so good right now.

This baked feta pasta with shrimp is a super easy dish with a lot of flavors. It is basically a “one pan” dish so clean up is also easy. The roasted tomatoes and feta make a nice, creamy sauce with a great flavor that doesn’t overwhelm the more delicate flavor of the shrimp. The red pepper flakes give it a bit of heat, but not too much. That certainly could be adjusted for personal preference. The parsley and lemon are a nice finish. I served this with a Caesar salad and fresh sourdough bread. It was a big hit!

I’ve seen versions of this baked feta pasta with shrimp and tomatoes floating around the internet and wrote it off as a silly trend. When I saw it as a potential tester recipe though, I decided to give it a go and it doesn’t disappoint. Throwing everything in the oven and then stirring it all together transforms it into a super flavorful sauce. So, so good, and so easy!

My only comment would be that it’s not the most beautifully plated meal. I added a lot of parsley over the top, which made the dish look nicer and was a nice contrast to the feta. I wonder if this would work equally as well with goat cheese? The feta was so tasty though, I may not want to experiment.

Easy instructions to follow and the final result was delicious! Since I love shrimp and feta cheese, this recipe for baked feta pasta with shrimp and tomatoes is perfect for my taste. You won’t be disappointed. It just took me 15 minutes for the prep process and 45 minutes for cooking time.

This baked pasta with shrimp, feta, and tomatoes is a great recipe for a busy weeknight but good enough for company. The baked feta makes a wonderful sauce so buy good quality feta. To save time during the week buying already peeled and deveined shrimp would be easy. Most of the cooking is done in a baking dish so clean-up is another bonus with this recipe. I served it with broccoli and I think this recipe would also work with chicken for those with a shellfish allergy.

I loved this baked pasta with shrimp, feta, and tomatoes. It was surprisingly very creamy without adding any reserved pasta water, the shrimp were cooked perfectly, and the lemon zest really popped against the feta and olive oil. I doubled the recipe, used a can of plum tomatoes, and had no problems. I also used about a teaspoon of dried thyme and more crushed red pepper than it asked for, about a teaspoon as well. I think some added vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and or peas would be a great addition to this. I absolutely loved this dish and will be making it again.

I have been seeing this dish all over social media, and it’s completely worth the hype. This baked pasta with shrimp, feta, and tomatoes was delicious, and I’ve already made it twice. There’s minimal prep and it’s easy to be made gluten-free. Next time, I’d be more reserved with salt, as feta is already pretty salty on its own.

This baked feta pasta with shrimp comes together so easily yet delivers the impact of a more complicated Garides Saganaki, one of my favorite dishes with feta and tomato and shrimp, with a bonus of lovely pasta. Baking a block of herb strewn feta is such a nice party piece on its own –you could stop with the feta and tomatoes and plop this in the middle of a table with crusty bread and call it a feast! But this is the perfect dish for a really special curly edge pasta that grabs every bit of the delicious sauce that comes together. We loved the baked feta and figs as an appetizer and so had high hopes for this and were delighted with the result.

The recipe easily divides for serving two, and cherry tomatoes deliver so much flavor when treated this way. Fresh garden thyme is a lovely complement — or you could even add a bit of rosemary if you prefer, or even a tiny splash of ouzo when the shrimp are added. I fit this smaller version in an 8 x 101⁄2” baking dish. The timing was spot on, with nice char starting to appear at 35 minutes. I used wild-caught pink shrimp that I had defrosted in cold water with a bit of salt and lemon, then patted dry once they were thawed. You can assemble the feta and tomatoes while the oven is heating, and when you add the shrimp, it is time to cook the pasta. It got a strong “very, very good, an 11” approval from himself, and one never minds hearing if something is jolly good!




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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Recipe Rating




6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have made this pasta before but wanted to add shrimp so I found your website.
    I halved the recipe as I was making it for just for my husband and myself. So easy and so delicious. The addition of the shrimp gives it more substance. I also like the lemon and spicy red pepper. My husband loved it. We each had a good size bowl and there is enough for leftovers tomorrow. Thanks for the tip on the feta. I only buy imported feta as the American feta is so commercialize and taste terrible. I love Israeli, French and Greek feta.

  2. 4 stars
    The first smell of this recipe would be the sizzling fresh tomatoes in the herbs and spices. The flavors were your classic comfort food taste. This is a simple hands-on recipe that was worth the anticipation of waiting for. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, to each their own, this cheesy pasta could be served at any time and still be amazing. This delicious, yummy dish was a feel-good meal and left you satisfied and full. Add or subtract any ingredients and enjoy. We left out the shrimp, added more cheese after baking, and put it back in the oven for 2 minutes.

    1. Wow, Dani and Mollie! Your dish looks amazing and we’re delighted it turned out so well.