Baked feta pasta with shrimp and tomatoes is adapted from that very famous TikTok recipe. In our version, the addition of shrimp and a different herb profile take it over the top for a dinner that’s just as easy as it is impressive. #PastaSelfie
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.
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
Baked Feta Pasta with Shrimp
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
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!
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.
Originally published June 06, 2021