8ouncesblock full-fat feta cheese (or a vegan feta cheese such as Violife)
¼cuphigh-quality olive oil
8ouncespasta, cooked according to package instructions (or a gluten-free pasta such as Banza)
Fresh basil, for topping (5-6 large leaves, minced)
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta, as directed on package. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the feta in the middle of a large baking dish or pan and arrange the tomatoes around it in a single layer. Sprinkle the minced garlic over the feta and tomatoes and drizzle the olive oil over the top.
Transfer the baking dish to the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the cherry tomatoes are very soft and the feta is soft. Remove from the oven, mash the feta and tomatoes together, and stir to combine.
Transfer the pasta to the dish and gently stir to combine. If sauce is too thick, add pasta water gradually, stirring, until sauce is desired consistency.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste, and top with fresh basil to serve.
If desired, stir in crushed red pepper flakes, to taste, before baking. Additional herbs such as thyme or oregano can be added.
If you prefer, instead of mincing the garlic, add whole cloves to the pan to roast with the tomatoes, mashing them with the sauce. Or mix in 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder for a milder garlic flavor.
If you like, stir in cooked shredded chicken with the pasta.