Skillet Baked Pasta With Sausage, Spinach And Sage
2/3 pound cavatappi pasta
one 5-ounce ounce package of baby spinach, cleaned and dried
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound pork sausage (without casing)
1 1/3 cups jack cheese, grated
5 garlic cloves, grated
1 sprig fresh oregano, finely chopped
10 fresh sage leaves, 5 finely chopped, 5 kept whole
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
kosher salt, for pasta water
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Fill a large stockpot halfway with salted cold water over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta per the package instructions. Drain and place the pasta back on the stockpot. Set aside.
Place a large 12-inch saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoons of olive oil and when hot, but not smoking, add the spinach and sauté until wilted, about 30 seconds. Place the spinach on a small plate and set aside.
Place the saucepan back over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and when hot, add the sausage. Use a wooden spoon to break up the sausage as it cooks. Cook the sausage undisturbed, until browned, about 3-4 minutes. Gently mix and cook for an additional 2 minutes until cooked through. Add the garlic, oregano, chopped sage and cook for about 30 seconds longer.
Stir in the vegetable stock, reduce the heat slightly and cook allow to simmer for an additional 3 minutes.
Add about 2/3 of the grated cheese while stirring. Add the salt and pepper and mix well.
Add the cooked pasta to the sausage mixture. Add the cooked spinach and mix well. Add the remaining 1/3 cup of grated cheese. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
Cover the saucepan with aluminum foil and transfer to the oven. Bake unto the pasta is tender the the sauce is beginning to bubble. Scatter the panko bread crumbs and remaining 5 whole sage leaves onto of the pasta. Turn the broiler on and brown the pasta until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 3 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly before serving.