1 package (16 ounces) rigatoni or other short pasta
Fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 400°. In a 13x9-in. baking dish, combine tomatoes, garlic and 1/4 cup olive oil. Place the block of feta in the center, moving tomatoes so the cheese is sitting on the bottom of the dish. Drizzle the feta with remaining oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until tomato skins start to split and the garlic has softened, 30-40 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water.
Stir the feta mixture, lightly pressing tomatoes, until combined. Add pasta and toss to combine. Stir in enough reserved pasta water to reach desired consistency. Sprinkle with basil.
Baked Feta Pasta Tips
Can you use crumbled feta to make baked feta pasta?
Just like other cheeses, feta melts better if you start with a block first, instead of buying already crumbled cheese at the store. Plus, crumbled feta may burn and stick to the bottom of the baking dish. Even if it means running to the store to pick up a block just for this recipe, it's worth the effort!
Can you use other shapes of pasta to make baked feta pasta?
Most short pasta shapes will work nicely in baked feta pasta. We used campanelle, but rigatoni, radiatore or rotini are a few other examples you could use. Just stay away from long noodles. Having to twirl the spaghetti on your fork and then poke the tomatoes isn't super compatible when you could just skewer a short noodle and tomato at the same time! Instead, put those long noodles to work in any of these different ways to make spaghetti.
What else can you add to baked feta pasta?
We added fresh basil leaves at the end, but other greens like spinach would be a health-conscious and colorful addition to this savory recipe with feta cheese. You could finish the dish with red pepper flakes for a little zip, or stir in spicy ground Italian sausage at the same time as the noodles.