¾poundbox rotini pastacooked per directions on the box
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Place the tomatoes, along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, garlic, sugar, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning into a baking dish (I used an 11"x 7" dish - but it doesn’t matter the size). Stir to combine.
Make space for the block of cheese in the middle of the dish and place the block of feta in the center of the dish. Pour the remaining olive oil on top of the cheese.
Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. While it is cooking, make the pasta.
After the 20 minutes, turn the broiler on your oven on high and broil for 5 minutes until the cheese starts to turn golden brown and the tomatoes char slightly. Remove.
With a fork, mash the feta and tomatoes until it forms a chunky sauce, I like to keep it a little on the chunkier side but you can mash it as much as you like.
Add the torn fresh basil and mix it in. Add the cooked pasta and coat it in the sauce.
Not a fan of feta cheese? No problem! Not everyone likes the texture of feta cheese. I recently made it with (2) 4 ounce logs of goat cheese and it was amazing! You could also try mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, burrata cheese or even garlic and herb Boursin cheese.
Don’t buy the feta that is packaged with brine. It will make it super tangy.
Try adding some grilled chicken for added protein (and flavor!)
All of these cheeses can be found with the other cheese in your grocery store or sometimes they are in their own separate cheese case in the deli area of your grocery store.
Don't skip the little amount of sugar that is added. This dish runs on the "tart" side. Roasting the tomatoes will bring out some of their natural sweetness but the combo of the tomatoes and feta cheese can make it a bit more acidic for most palates so I definitely recommend it.
Play around with the seasonings and different types of pasta! This is a pretty simple recipe to tweak. You don't even need to use cherry tomatoes. You could dice up some Roma tomatoes and throw them in the pan.
The fresh basil really makes this dish. Get the fresh basil! I promise you won't regret it. It really makes this dish taste so fresh!
I didn't use the whole box of pasta here as the original recipe required. I think too much pasta can make this dish more "dry" whereas I wanted it more "saucy." If you want to make the whole (one pound) box of pasta, I would roast another pint of tomatoes to this recipe to make sure there is enough cream sauce/pasta ratio.
I think a drizzle of balsamic vinegar would be amazing in this if you enjoy balsamic.