Preheat oven to 400°F. Add the tomatoes in an oven-safe casserole. Reserve 2 tablespoons olive oil for later and pour the rest along with salt and pepper. Toss well to season tomatoes.
Move the tomatoes to create space in the middle and place the feta block or crumbles. Add the reserved 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss or flip cheese until coated with seasoning. Bake for 30-32 minutes, or until the tomatoes burst and the feta cheese melts.
About half way through the baking time, cook the pasta in the Instant Pot. Add pasta, water and salt to the instant pot and set it to cook for 5 minutes. If using another pasta shape, refer to this time chart to calculate the time. Alternatively, cook pasta on the stove following package directions. After cooking, drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid.
Remove the casserole from the oven. Add minced garlic, 2-3 tablespoons of pasta water and half the chopped basil to the feta to make a light cheese sauce. Mix using a spoon or fork, until well combined .
Add the cooked pasta to the baking dish. Toss to combine. Add more pasta water only if needed. Garnish with more basil and enjoy.
Use fresh ingredients. Since this recipe is made up of so few ingredients, it's important to use fresh tomatoes, basil, and garlic to get the best flavor.
Use feta block for a creamier taste and texture. Pre-crumbled or pre-shredded cheeses often contain an anti-caking agent which results in a grainier texture when melted. If purchasing feta crumbles, check the label for ingredients to avoid that.
Use full-fat feta for the creamiest texture. Although low-fat feta will work, it won't be as flavorful or as creamy.
Save the pasta water. This is mixed with the melted feta to form a light cheese sauce.
Serve right away for the best flavor and ultimate freshness. Leftovers will last for up to 4 days in the fridge or 2 months in the freezer.
You can mix in a protein if you want to bulk your pasta dish up a bit. Try it with cooked chicken, ground beef, ground turkey, cooked shrimp, or even chickpeas for a vegetarian/vegan option.
Up the nutrition by adding veggies. Try it with mushrooms, spinach, asparagus, diced bell pepper, etc.
This dish can easily be made vegan by swapping the regular feta cheese out for a vegan variety.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates. If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.