The Pasta Files: Episode One

Can one recipe lead to so much more? The WTG team investigates.

What gets a bunch of fashion editors excited about cooking and carbs? The promise of some activity outside of the kitchen. That’s right, there's a recipe that [allegedly] not only tastes good, but has the one and only aftertaste a person could look forward to. When we got word of a penne vodka that could, at first bite, send the pants right off of the lucky person you serve it to, we thought this would be the moment for an experiment. Our realm of expertise lies more in the area of lingerie and little black dresses, but this recipe got us wanting to slip outside of comfort zones and into something a little more saucy. 

So we set out out to the supermarket, a team in stilettos and Supergas, to find out if sexy penne could really be as effective as sexy panties. Is aphrodisiac pasta really a thing? Studies show that things like zinc in oysters and phenylethylamine in chocolate boost your sex drive, but can the right concoction of vodka, basil, cream, chillies, and more achieve the same results? Note: red wine was involved. The recipe, and culinary aphrodisiacs in general, has been criticized for using food to get a man's attention, but what difference does it make if you're trying to seduce someone – man or woman – with wit, charm, or pasta? Plus, the end goal is pleasurable for both parties involved, not just the one getting fed. 

In the interest of a fair, scientific, and unbiassed experiment, all of our editors agreed to not tell their partners about the hypothesis, and not all scenarios were women cooking for men. 

Find below the recipe we tested and the first experiment from one of our Wheretoget editors, as part of a week-long series of accounts that will be released over the next few days. 

1) Add butter or oil to a pan over med. heat, then add shallots and garlic. Cook until browned. 2) Add 1/3 cup of vodka and cook until it evaporates. Add can of tomatoes, keep on low/med. heat and stir, adding dried basil, salt, pepper and pepper flakes to taste. 3) When sauce is thick, add 1/2 cup of half and half, stirring on low heat until sauce is pink. 4) Make pasta, drain and add parmesan to noodles before adding sauce. Add butter to hot pasta if desired. 5) Let sauce cool for 5-10 mins before adding to penne 6) Serve with red wine. 

Effectiveness of recipe: Ineffective 
Quality of experience:  Average
Taste Rating (Scale of 1 - 10): 
It was mid-afternoon when I received the text that would set everything in motion: “what do you want for dinner?”

My heart was pounding.

“How about this recipe the WTG gang just gave me for super creamy delicious vodka pasta?”

“Sure, I’m down! Let’s get experimental!!”

It was as though he already knew.

When I left work to buy the ingredients, the store was somewhat lacking, particularly in the vodka department, so I decided to go straight home and pick up the goods from my local supermarket. I boarded the train and fantasized about how the evening might pan out, when all of a sudden I heard my name called at the station. I turned, and there was my boyfriend, happy to see me. Great. Now we’d have to shop for the ingredients together. Luckily I’d taken a screen shot of the recipe that purposefully cropped the official name – “F*ck Me Penne” – out of the frame. The first blow came when he suggested we get fresh tagliatelle instead of penne. Next, I had to convince him that the vodka was extremely necessary.

When we eventually got home, the kitchen was a mess. And even though it was definitely his turn to do the washing up, I didn’t want to kill the vibe, so I put on my marigolds and got to work. It’s all part of the foreplay, I told myself, and started humming Business Time under my breath – the whole time my boyfriend was in the living room, Googling the benefits of cooking with vodka. “It’s a thickening agent!” he discovered. Yeah it is, I thought to myself.

With the cooking station spic and span, I set to work. As I threw in chillies and dried basil I felt a bit like a sorcerer making a love potion. I drained the pasta, doused it in parmesan, and poured over the sauce.

We sat down to eat and I found myself awkwardly staring over to my partner to look for dilated pupils, a slight sweat breaking out on his forehead – anything. Did he just cross his legs? Is it working?

“How is it?” I asked, cautiously.

“Really good!”

I couldn’t agree more. It was an undeniably good recipe. Creamy, spicy, tomato-y. But it didn’t seem to make either of us feel very... sexy. We both went for seconds. Our plates were positively licked clean, but still no action. I was trying incredibly hard not to skew the results by flirting too much, or too little. I tried hard not to arouse suspicion as I tried equally hard to arouse… well, you know.

Within an hour of finishing dinner, we were in bed together.*

*in our pajamas, watching Peep Show.

From the moment we bumped into each other on the train platform to the moment I fessed up about the whole sick experiment, I found myself simultaneously giddy with excitement and wracked with guilt. I apologized profusely about having tried to use him for journalistic purposes, to which he laughed and said, “maybe you shouldn’t have got the tagliatelle.”

It was the first early bedtime we’d had in weeks.