Why bake pasta in the oven when it can be done on a stovetop? Because it’s the best way to ensure that your sauce is bubbly and piping hot, the cheese reaches peak meltiness, and the edges of the noodles get a bit of crispness, like lasagna. We promise it’s worth heating up the stove for, especially in this recipe featuring ground pork, kale, fresh mozzarella, and penne.
Produced in a facility that processes milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybean.
/ serving 4 people
/ serving 4 people
Tuscan Heat Spice
Wash and dry all produce. Adjust rack to upper position and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Remove and discard stems and large ribs from kale, then cut leaves into 1-inch pieces. Thinly slice mozzarella. Pick half the basil leaves from stems and finely chop (save the rest for garnish).
Once water boils, add penne to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 9-12 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat (use an ovenproof pan if you have one). Add pork, breaking up meat into pieces. Cook, tossing occasionally, until browned, 6-7 minutes. Season with plenty of salt and pepper. Stir in Tuscan heat spice.
Stir marinara sauce and milk into pan and scrape up any browned bits on bottom of pan. Bring to a boil, then stir in kale, chopped basil, and chili flakes (to taste). Cook until kale wilts, 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Add drained penne to pan and stir to combine. (TIP: If your pan isn’t large enough or not ovenproof, transfer everything to a large baking dish at this point.) Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Remove pan from heat and lay mozzarella slices on top in an even layer.
Sprinkle panko over pasta in pan or dish and drizzle with 1 TBSP olive oil. Bake in oven until panko begins to turn golden brown, 12-15 minutes. Tear remaining basil leaves from stems and scatter over top. Divide everything between plates and serve.