What to Make With Those Tasteless Tomatoes? A Pasta and Feta Bake
You probably have some of those tasteless tomatoes around on your counter. You know the ones. The tomatoes that look good but taste like styrofoam--or what I suspect styrofoam tastes like. You could always bury the tomatoes in dressing in a salad, but that seems kind of pointless and not very healthy. So, instead, how about baking the tomatoes and combining them with feta, pasta, and herbs for a special dish? The baking technique won't magically give the tomatoes taste, but it will help concentrate the tomato flavor, so that the dish will be good. Oregano and basil also will add flavor, but the special star is the feta cheese. It will provide saltiness and tang. The feta also will melt into the juices from the tomatoes and provide a slightly creamy sauce for the pasta as you mix the ingredients together. This is a simple dish to make, and you can serve it as a meatless main or as a side dish. I especially like to serve the Tomato-Feta-Pasta Bake alongside chicken feta and spinach sausages for an easy supper. Like olives and want to add them? Feel free!
Tomato-Feta-Pasta Bake -- Serves 4+
6-8 medium/large tomatoes (I use large Romas, which are ripe looking, not ripe tasting!)
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of salt
5-8 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil (I use extra virgin)
1 - 1 1/2 cups of feta cheese crumbled
2 - 2 1/2 cups of pasta spirals (I use tricolor spirals for extra color)
Handful of fresh basil, torn (if you don't have any, just use 1/2 -1 teaspoon of dried,
depending on how much you like basil)
Coat a large baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Slice the tomatoes (or chop some and slice some, if you want more irregular bits) and put them in the baking dish. Sprinkle on the pepper, salt, chopped garlic, and dried oregano. Drizzle everything with the olive oil. Sprinkle on the feta crumbles evenly. Bake the tomato mixture for about 30 minutes or until the tomatoes soften and the cheese begins to brown a bit. While the tomato mixture is baking, cook the pasta and drain it well. When the tomato mixture is done, remove it from the oven and stir in the hot pasta, a little at a time. The tomatoes will break down into the pasta and the cheese will meld into the juices to form a sauce. Sprinkle on the torn basil and serve the dish.