A Baked Feta floating in a pool of spicy red marinara loaded with tomatoes, fresh garlic, olive oil, and seasoning. Bake it all together until it’s warm and creamy and it makes a perfect appetizer for any occasion.
Need a dish for the holiday Christmas party but don’t have the time to spend prepping and baking? I’ve got just the thing for you. This delicious baked feta recipe comes together in no time and you can zap it in the office microwave to awaken before serving with toasted crostini. It’s saucy, flavorful, and easy to walk around mingling with. What’s not to love?
Does feta cheese melt?
No, feta cheese will not melt. When baked, feta gains an almost creamy texture, similar to goat cheese but with feta’s characteristic tang. The cheese curds will soften and become gooey, but it will not melt in the same way that a cheddar or mozzarella will. When heated, the feta cheese softens but, it will not liquify. The curds will maintain their shape, but the texture will change significantly. This has to do with the type of cheese and the process used to make feta, predominantly the high acid content. This is what makes it so incredibly perfect as a spread.
For the best results?
Use a quality cheese. Start with a good quality Greek cheese like Athenos. This recipe is designed for a block of feta, not pre-crumbled feta which is too dry and will not work well in this recipe.
Serve warm. This dish is best served right out of the oven while the feta is still creamy and easily spreadable. Obviously, if you are taking it with you to an office party and will not be serving it until later place it in the refrigerator and zap it in the microwave for 5-8 minutes right before serving.
Use Roma tomatoes for the sauce. Personally, I think San Marzano is the perfect tomato for sauce but try finding them at your local grocers. It’s probably not going to happen. Roma tomatoes are a classic and offered in most grocery stores. This popular tomato makes a delicious secondary tomato base with thick sauce with few seeds.
Get the oven nice and hot. I preheat the oven before I start the sauce. This allows it to warm up nicely ensuring the oven is nice and toasty when you place the feta in.
- 1 12-ounce block of feta cheese
Spicy Marinara Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 10 – 12 tomatoes finely chopped
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tablespoons tomato puree
- 3 tablespoons red wine
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place the feta in a large cast iron skillet.
- Make the spicy marinara sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté till onion is translucent. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until soft and pulpy. Add the tomato puree and red wine. Let simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in the pepper flakes, cumin, chile powder, oregano, and salt. Remove from heat.
- Pour the mixture into a food processor and pulse a few times, or until smooth. Add back to the saucepan and simmer 10 minutes to develop the flavors.
- Pour the sauce over the block of feta.
- Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. Broil for 1-2 minutes to brown the top slightly.
- Garnish with fresh chopped basil and serve with sliced grilled garlic bread.