Does the word Uunifetapasta mean anything to you? You may have heard all about the viral TikTok baked feta pasta sauce which has taken much of the world by storm. It's a simple pasta sauce made using a block of feta and cherry tomatoes that is all baked on a single dish or tray in the oven. It has become such a sensation that stores in some countries have sold out of feta. But what is this baked feta pasta like? Is it worth making?
The original TikTok pasta sauce recipe was by Finnish blogger Jenni Häyrinen or @Liemessa and was first published 2 years ago and has since gone on three popularity waves. It involves roasting cherry tomatoes and a block of feta in the oven with garlic and oil and then mashing it all together to form a sauce. She called it Uunifetapasta which means "oven feta pasta". Last week on February 4th it was international Uunifetapasta day (even despite half the planet including Finland being deep in winter then and tomatoes not being their best).
Laura first put me onto this pasta. I tried the original recipe but the only problem was that I was a bit underwhelmed by it. I feel terrible saying that because you know I adore Finland (Mr NQN is half Finnish) and the creator seems like a lovely person but I just didn't adore it.
It probably depends on where you are in the journey of cooking. If you don't cook much then you might love it. It's the definition of easy-just whack the feta, tomatoes, oil and seasoning in the oven and mash to make a sauce which is kind of genius in its simplicity.
If you cook a lot then the original recipe might leave you a bit wanting. Hype also doesn't help because I think I was expecting something amazing. Also if you happen to be knee deep in snow, perhaps a super creamy and ultra cheesy pasta might just be the antidote to the winter blues but we happen to be in the midst of summer and it was just too rich and I felt like it was missing something.
Laura added lots of basil, chilli and lemon zest. I also played with the ratio of tomatoes adding more to help balance the feta's creaminess. So this is my TikTok uunifetapasta pasta sauce upgrade! I promise that this version is satisfyingly delicious with all the additions and they're pretty easy ones because all you do is add them to the baking dish. It also uses up a lot of tomatoes and you can add more vegetables which is also a win.
Other upgrade options: Instead of feta you can use other cheeses like goat's cheese, blue cheese or cream cheese or vegans might even use tofu or add sliced mushrooms, chickpeas or pumpkin to the sauce to upp the vege content. Or you can add capers and anchovies to balance the feta's creaminess.
And if all else fails, try my friend Monica's roasted tomato pasta sauce. You can use whole cherry tomatoes in this and it is even easier but super tasty!
So tell me Dear Reader, have you tried the TikTok pasta sauce? What did you think of it? If you haven't tried it, will you give it a go?