My First Cook This…Get Laid Meal

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There I was, a 33-year-old single woman living in Washington, DC.  So what was I doing in a Los Angeles kitchen with a 41-year-old Canadian who invited me for a weekend visit?  He was cute and all, but I had a wonderful life back east.  A great job, tons of family closeby, regular travel, a burgeoning business, and a spacious apartment overlooking the National Zoo with the National Cathedral hovering in the background.

I wasn’t about to give all this up over a guy.

“I’ll cook for you,” he said, and I smiled into the phone because no man ever offered to do that for me.  It’s usually, ‘I’ll take us to dinner.’  Or, ‘we’ll go out.’  It’s never an offer to prepare something specifically for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I love going out.  But 3,000 miles is a long ride for a homemade dinner.

And going to LA was not a stretch, since I grew up in Southern California.  I had tons of friends, immediate family and weather that I missed, so any excuse to escape a rainy spring was fine with me.

But let’s get back to that first dinner.  I wasn’t expecting much.  If he turned out to be uninteresting, I had many places to bail. But something interesting happened – it was the perfect date.  His apartment was immaculate.  He asked about my favorite things in advance, and I was amused to see a platter of cool red grapes, a bottle of red wine and sparking water ready for me when I walked through his front door.

And he made me laugh.

But the knockout came from a very creamy vodka pink sauce or penne ala vodka.  It was the most delicious dish I tasted in ages.  It was fully decadent, or so I thought because his version was vegan (no dairy products).  That traditional cup of heavy cream, cheese and sometimes butter was replaced by a heavy supply of fresh ingredients and coconut milk.  I would have never thought of those unique flavor combinations, but his changes brought the dish together perfectly.

This is when Cook This…Get Laid was born.  And the Canadian kept cooking for me too. Eight years later (happily married for four), I wonder why more men don’t do this. Which is why I started this blog.

The sauce is a bit labor intensive.  This takes prep, regular stirring and you have to watch the pan so it doesn’t stick.  But just remind yourself that this is a hands down,  panty-dropper recipe.

Craig’s Vodka Pink Sauce

Try my husband's introductory CTGL recipe. Of course it works! I married the guy.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 8 medium cloves of chopped garlic
  • 2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes (ask her first if she likes heat!)
  • 6-8 ounces vodka
  • a 28 oz can of organic diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons of dried basil, or 2 handfuls of fresh basil (I love both, and if you like basil – go nuts)
  • 2 pinches kosher salt
  • 12 oz box of penne rice pasta (or polenta or whole grain rice)

Prep Time:  15 minutes
Total cook time: 45 minutes
Total shopping time: 10 minutes


In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and stir until they are soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for no more than 30 seconds (burned garlic is the WORST), then sprinkle the pepper flakes in the pan.  Pour in vodka and wait until it’s reduced by half, or about 5-7 minutes.  Then add the tomatoes and coconut milk and stir until it blends well.  Mix in the salt, basil and start stirring.  Keep stirring a little more every 5-10 minutes.  It’ll take about 30 minutes for the sauce to be the right consistency.

Since you’ll be waiting for the sauce, now is the time to get your pasta going. Grab a big pot and fill it with water.  Once it comes to a boil, drop in the entire box of penne, stir and cook until just al dente, 5 to 6 minutes.

Drain in a colander and return to the saucepan.  Take your time when tossing the pasta with the sauce.  I love it when the pasta is fully coated with the sauce and just topped with a sprig of basil.  She’ll love it too!

Shopping List

  • Good quality olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • vodka
  • one 28 oz can of organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • dried or fresh basil
  • kosher salt
  • one 12 oz box of penne rice pasta



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About Mona

I'm a food writer and home cook that loves to talk about healthy food and romance.
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5 Responses to My First Cook This…Get Laid Meal

  1. Pingback: My First Cook This…Get Laid Meal | Cook This…Get Laid

  2. Hollyanne says:

    this blog should someone print out and installed on every traffic light in the city

  3. Angela says:

    Loving the blog and sending my boyfriend the link. Also, I’m a fairly recent transplant to LA from DC!