Making comfort food just that much easier

February 1, 2012 in Food Porn, review


Some of the best and most delicious busy week-night comfort food you can put together for your family may not be the fanciest or prettiest, but it certainly delivers satisfaction.

These recipes often also leave you with baking pans that have a crust of baked-on food that can leave the cook with a, let’s try to say this nicely, lessened enthusiasm for making that recipe again. There isn’t a much†more dispiriting thing in the kitchen than a baking pan that has a death grip on baked-on cheese and pasta.

Be honest – how often do you consider a recipe, think it sounds delicious, but then a vision of the baking pan you will have to clean later puts you off the whole enterprise? I don’t like using throw-away foil pans, so that’s not a short-cut I consider for feeding the family on a daily basis.

I tend to use olive oil to coat my baking pans or, if I run out of that, I use a discount oil spray (because that’s what I have on hand a lot). Whether it’s high quality and tasty olive oil or butter or cheapy spray, food still sticks on the pan.

If I am the one loading the dishwasher I scrub the pan with the steel scrubber I use for my stainless steel pans – sometimes with a lot of elbow grease – and then put it into the dishwasher. If someone ELSE loads the dishwasher, they don’t pre-scrub, and I go to unload the washer to find a pan with very well-washed, baked-on food on the pan. I then have to scrub the pan with the scrubber and put it through AGAIN. Yeah – tell me I am not the only one with this issue?

BlogHer – working with the makers of PAM® – reached out to some blog reviewers to use their new spray formulation. You can learn more about the new PAM at this link and also ìlikeî their Facebook page.

I am going to share my experience with this new product, a recipe, and also a chance to win a $100 gift card giveaway plus coupons for the new and improved PAM Cooking Spray and Hunt’s Tomatoes (details at the bottom of this page)

So you could see from the photos above that I made a baked cheesy sausage rigatoni. I hope you try the recipe. Its not a major innovation in recipe development and won’t win any Nobel Prizes, BUT I think your family will find it irresistibly delicious both on the day you make it fresh and as leftovers at school and work the next day.

I have video farther down of the dish burbling away in the oven-you should have smelled it-knock out. Watching the video is the next best thing, and maybe it will entice you to try it.

In terms of stick-factor, this recipe definitely offered a challenge to the new PAM spray formulation.

And how did that turn out, you may ask? I can tell you that the stuck-on food came off with just my bare fingers-amazing huh? I then poured some hot, soapy water in the pan and grabbed my iPhone and shot the video below-showing you how the food was just barely clinging. After the video I rinsed the pan, ran a soapy sponge across it to remove oils and then rinsed it again, et voila – done with the clean up.

Please dont forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this page!

Herb Kissed Sausage Whole Wheat Rigatoni Bake


  • 1 lb box whole wheat rigatoni
  • 1-2 pounds raw sweet Italian sausage, cooked, diced
  • 4-6 cups pasta sauce (not white cheese sauce type)
  • 32 ounces whole milk ricotta
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 8-10 ounces freshly shredded mozzarella
  • one large ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • bunch of fresh basil, rough chop
  • bunch of fresh oregano, rough chop
  • 1/2 Spanish onion, diced finely
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • salt as needed


Boil whole wheat rigatoni about 3/4 of recommended time, drain, set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Saute sausages on medium heat until 3/4 cooked and nicely browned on the outside.

Remove sausage and cut into small pieces.

In the sausage pan, saute onions in leftover oil, sprinkle with a bit of salt.

Once lightly browned, add garlic and turn off the heat and set aside.

Mix ricotta, eggs, basil, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, until fluffy.

Fold in sautÈed onions and 3/4 of the shredded mozzarella.

Spray your baking pan(s) with PAM lightly. Add boiled pasta. I had to split this recipe across two baking pans. Add 1/2 pasta sauce to each pan, add 1/2 ricotta mix, add 1/2 sausage, mix evenly. Sprinkle tops with last 1/4 of shredded cheese and also add slices of fresh mozzarella. If you like, add a slight glug of olive oil across the fresh mozzarella. Spray some foil with PAM, and then cover the pans.

Bake them about 30 minutes.

Remove the foil and put the pans back in the oven with it on the broil setting to crisp up the surface cheese. Allow to cool 15 – 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy! Leftovers only get better :-)


Prize: $100 gift card giveaway plus coupons for the new and improved PAM Cooking Spray and Hunt’s Tomatoes, courtesy of BlogHer and PAM.

To be entered for a chance to win, let me know your favorite recipe that uses PAM.

No duplicate comments.You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  • Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  • Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  • Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  • For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This sweepstakes runs from 2/1 – 3/31.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e- mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here.†

Be sure to visit the PAM round-up page on where you can read other bloggersí reviews and find more chances to win!