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Roasted Feta Cheese, Slow-Cooked Tomato Sauce, Za’atar and Grilled Pita

Photo: Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board
From: Chef Kristine Subido. Yield: 12 servings.

1 lb. feta cheese, cut in 1½” cubes
1¼ cups extra virgin olive oil, divided
zest of 1 lemon, grated
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp. juniper berries, ground
1 tsp. za’atar*
1 28-oz. can San Marzano peeled tomatoes
½ cup shallots, chopped
1 Tbsp. garlic, chopped
½ cup white wine
1 tsp. Spanish paprika
¼ kalamata olives, chopped
¼ cup capers, rinsed and drained
1 tsp. red chili flakes
as needed, pita bread

For marinated cheese: Marinate cheese cubes in mixture of 1 cup olive oil, lemon zest, oregano, juniper berries and za’atar for at least 1 hour.

For tomato sauce: Heat oven to 425°F. Drain liquid from tomatoes. Split tomatoes and drain liquid inside, reserving liquid. Place tomatoes in ovenproof pan. Roast 20 to 30 minutes, or until dried. Heat remaining ¼ cup olive oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic. Cook 3 minutes; stir in wine and paprika. Add roasted tomatoes, reserved liquid and all remaining ingredients except pita bread. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until all vegetables are tender.

Final preparation: Heat oven to 375°F. Pour tomato sauce in shallow 1 qt. oven-proof casserole. Top with marinated cheese. Roast in oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cheese starts to brown. Serve in casserole or on individual plates with grilled pita bread.

*Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend of toasted sesame seeds, thyme, marjoram and sumac.

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