Monkey is in an intensive writing course, and she served up this delicious offering today about her first time making manicotti last week.

The assignment was:

“Think of a significant event that occurred in your life and write 2 paragraphs about it. Please Show, don’t tell. Help us put our feet into your shoes.”

This was the recipe she used since you’ll want to make some of your own after reading the description.

Manicotti recipe

And now, her essay.


    “Today is the day!” I declare “That I will make… Manicotti!” Bought the ingredients three days ago, and they’ve been taunting me since. So it’s time to have some fun! “First,” says the recipe, “boil your noodles.” So I fill the pot, and add a little salt. Somebody on TV was murdered, hopefully they catch the killer–speculating on it is a good way to pass the time. Pull everything out of the fridge. There’s mozzarella, ricotta, and parmesan there. And parsley, it says, for spices. Everything into the bowl, and stir it up. Sounds really squishy, but it smells nice already. I am no cook, but some instinct tells me a teaspoon of parsley isn’t nearly enough, so I pull down the basil, too. The water boils then (our stovetop at home boils a lot louder, but this one always shoots steam everywhere), and I dump the pasta in. It’s a good thing I don’t need to see to do this, because my glasses are completely fogged up. The oregano goes in next, the italian spice, and the chopped garlic from out of the fridge. I did cross-reference this with other recipes, so I’m not going completely mad dumping cinnamon into soup or anything. Everything goes in together, and I smell the spices–oregano smells kinda gross (reminds me of chamomile, which always makes me think of being sick). It’ll taste nice, though; it has to. Oh, fudge! Pasta’s ready. Pour that out, fog my glasses up again, and rinse, the recipe says. Onto the cooling rack, and back to the mix. And now I read the recipe again, and I’ve forgotten the eggs–well, no wonder the texture was so lumpy! They go in, a little more spice, and now it’s time for stuffing. I have… never done this before, but I’m too stubborn to ask for help, so I just go right at it. A scoop on the spoon, pick up a noodle, awkwardly shove it inside. Then, of course, repeat. If I felt like asking for help, I could find a chopstick or something, so I wouldn’t need to shove the mix down with a spoon the same width as the noodles, but I’m halfway through it now, so I’ll manage. Had just barely enough to fill them all nicely, so into a pan, and spread over the parmesan. 

Then the oven, and now the wait. My hands are covered in cheese, my glasses are smeary, and my feet hurt. But now I can go sit down, and see what’s happened on TV. Check them at 30 minutes, and though they’re clearly not done, they look delightful, and the air is full of the smell of cheese–I really, really love cheese. 15 later, they’re out, and they look just beautiful. I’ve never made anything so complex before, and when I plate mine up, I do it all fancy. Wipe down the plate where sauce got on it, a little extra parsley on top, and it looks like a restaurant made it. If I had Instagram, this would be Instagram-worthy. And the tasting? Delightfully cheesy, tomato-y, pasta-ish, and absolutely perfect. Though, it did need more spices. I ate four pieces, and had as many for lunch the next day. 10/10, would recommend.