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?
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
TikTok Pasta Sauce Upgrade Edition!
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by 3 readers
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott based on a recipe by Jenni Häyrinen
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Serves: 2-3 people
- 650g/23ozs. cherry tomatoes (I used 400g/14oz mixed coloured tomatoes and 250g/8.8oz cherry tomatoes)
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced
- 5 cloves garlic, smashed but not chopped
- 1 large or 2 small red chillies, chopped
- Chilli powder or flakes to taste (I used shichimi togarashi)
- 200g/7ozs. block feta (Greek or Danish)
- 1/2 cup/125ml/4flozs. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic glaze
- 100g/3.5ozs black olives, pitted
- 30g/1oz baby spinach
- 2 chorizo sausages, diced
- 250g/8.8ozs spaghetti or bucatini (or your favourite pasta)
- Small handful of basil leaves
- Zest and juice from 1 lemon
- Salt and black pepper
Chopping the chorizo to bite sized pieces
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 190C/380F. Wash the cherry tomatoes and add to a medium sized baking tray along with the onion, garlic and chillies. Add the feta in the centre and sprinkle with chilli powder, olive oil and balsamic glaze. Roast uncovered for 20 minutes.
Step 2 - Then add the olives, baby spinach and chorizo and roast for another 15-20 minutes. In the meantime cook the pasta and rinse under plenty of cold water.
Step 3 - Using a fork mash the feta and the cherry tomatoes which should be nice and blistered and soft to make a sauce. Toss the pasta into the sauce and add basil, lemon juice, lemon zest and season with salt and pepper (you may not need a lot of salt because the feta is salty).