Monday, January 11, 2010

Baked Manicotti for Women Who Are in Love with My Husband

This is a post about how the moms in Edie's ballet class are lusting after my husband. Seriously.

Here's the back story: Edie and Lucy take gymnastics and ballet on the weekends in the country. Lucy attacks these classes the way she attacks everything, full on and with every fiber of her being, like a cement truck without brakes. She bolts into the door of each class and never looks back. In every class, she ends up seducing some little pink leotard-wearing creature into being her new BFF and they emerge from class sated with the recollection of their Grand Jetes and their friendship, flush with the perfection of new love.


Edie attacks her class in her own distinctive way, which is basically to throw herself into our arms and peer out from under the safety of our hugs and encouraging words and watch the other kids dance, while she tells us intermittently that she wants to go home and that she loves us more than anything, which really means, "I'm going to tell you over and over that I love you, with my big pouty lip, so your heart will melt and you won't make me do that terrible, evil, public dancing."


David has been going to ballet most times, because it's easier for her to separate from him, and he sits inside the class with her. He is the only parent inside the class. The rest of the 3 year olds are spinning and twirling around the room only vaguely aware that their moms are watching the class through a two way mirror.

And there's David in his own sweet way, surrounded by pink tutu's and little girls with ribbons trailing from their pony tails at once encouraging Edie to dance and be independent and also bringing her in, helping her feel comforted and secure by his presence, his loving words. It's all what I would expect from David while I'm with Lucy in gymnastics, being ignored by a child who is too busy swinging upside down from a rope to even care that I am in the room.


I should've known something was up one day when I happened to be in class with Edie and "the moms" gave David an up-date on how Edie was doing in his absence. But I didn't say anything, lest I look like the kind of woman who thinks every gal is hot for her man. And David wouldn't have believed me anyway. He is convinced that virtually no woman of any hotness would actually be attracted to him. He still swears that my attraction to him is an anomaly and the only reason I was attracted to him is because I have a track record of dating ugly men and it wasn't hard for him to compete.

Seriously, this is the way his brain works. And he isn't insecure about it. He accepts these things as fact and doesn't think about it again. He's all zen about it.

So imagine how stunned he was when my friend Corey happened to be standing outside the window/mirror, watching her daughter in Edie's class and all the ballet moms start talking about David.

"My God, he is such a great dad, that guy..."

"Why yes, he is so patient with her, isn't he?"

"Your telling me, I can't imagine my Doug doing that every Saturday morning."

"He's really a great father. Men could take a lesson from this guy."

"Hmph...attractive, too."

That's right...attractive! Apparently it went on like this. Nauseatingly so. Corey acted like she had no idea who he was and smiled and nodded a lot. I also think she took notes.


When Corey told David I thought his head would spin off. He told me later, "I didn't know any one was watching." He was in total denial, completely unaware that a grown man with cave man hair and an unshaven beard, looking like an older, more seasoned version of Tim Riggins (That's a Friday Night Lights reference) kneeling down in a sea of pink tutus, does not draw the female heterosexual eye. Puh-leeze.

I considered taking over ballet and sending him packing back to gymnastics, but gymnastics is a sweet post. I get a lot of twittering done there and I can scan through nearly an entire Entertainment Weekly, while looking up intermittently to cheer for a child who doesn't even notice that I'm there. I also text people. Gymnastics is better than a bubble bath. I'm not giving up that post.

Instead, I may just have to let the ballet moms have their thrill. I may unbutton another button on his shirt and let him flaunt his wares to his middle age posse. I got a gem and I'm not afraid of anyone knowing it.

xo YM


PS: Here is a little recipe for manicotti and perhaps just one of the reasons, my husband loves me. Take that, ballet moms! Ha!

_____________________________________________________________________________________


Since David is still morally opposed to carbs and thinks pasta might be spawn of the devil, I made this for the kids and I, and for David, I took thinly cut veal leg cutlets and lightly dredged them with the bread crumbs, fried them in olive oil, put a generous dollop of the manicotti filling on each cutlet and smothered them in the sauce. They were beautiful. I think we all ate these, as well.

Baked Manicotti for Women Who Are In Love With My Husband

Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small finely diced onion
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped.
1 28 ounce can of San Marzano Tomatoes
1 cup of chicken broth or water (use as needed to thin sauce)
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
5 large fresh basil leaves, slivered

Filling

2 cups fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese or one 15-ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 cup 1/4-inch cubes mild imported provolone cheese (provola) or sharp domestic provolone cheese
2 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
A pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
5 large fresh basil leaves, slivered

Manicotti

1 pound manicotti (large tubular pasta)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preparation

Sauce

Put olive oil in a medium-hot cast iron fry pan (or pan of your choosing), add onions and garlic, for about 2 minutes. Don't over cook them. Add tomatoes. If they are whole, you can cut them into pieces in the pan to help them release their juices. I like my sauce with a little chunk to it, but if you don't you can run it through a food mill, although I don't need one more extra dish to wash.

Add salt and sugar and about 1/3 or the broth. Turn heat down to a simmer, cover and let sauce simmer for 25-30 minutes or so. If the sauce is a little thick, add another third of the broth, as necessary. Let simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Turn off heat and add slivers of basil.

Filling

Place ricotta in medium bowl. Mix in provolone cubes, 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, and black pepper. Season with salt. (You can make the sauce and filling a day ahead. Just chill in the fridge).

Puttin' It All Together

Cook manicotti in large pot of boiling salted water until somewhat firm and about 3/4 cooked, 7 minutes or so. Using a big slotted spoon, transfer manicotti from pot to foil-lined baking sheet and cool.

Brush olive oil over bottom of 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Spread 3 tablespoons sauce over the bottom. Using teaspoon, fill each of 12 manicotti with about 1/3 cup cheese mixture. Arrange stuffed pasta in single layer in prepared dish and spoon remaining sauce over. (The stuffed manicotti can be made about two hours ahead before it starts to get soggy. Just cover it well and let it sit on the counter until your ready.)

A tip about stuffing manicotti: I find stuffing manicotti to be a bit precious. I generally use a teaspoon, but some people use a pastry bag. Whatever. But if you find some of the manicotti splits or breaks (If you over-cook it), it's still easy to fix. Slit broken or partially split manicotti all the way up, so you have a flat piece of pasta. Lay it on the counter. Put filling on one end and just roll the sheet up around the filling, like you are rolling a cigarette. It looks exactly like a perfectly filled manicotti and no one will know the difference. It will not fall apart when picked up with a spatula after baking.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup Parmesan atop sauce. Bake manicotti uncovered until heated through and sauce is bubbling on bottom of dish, about 20 minutes. Let manicotti stand 5 minutes and serve.

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7 comments:

blissmamaof3 said...

Mmm, this sounds good. Next snow day I'll be making this. Very cute story, amazing how oblivious men can be, huh?

Kate said...

I think a daddy like David is appealing in the fact that involvement that deep in a childs life takes a fair amount of guts. Fathers are far more involved these days than ever, but still, he goes to a level that many of them can't, or just won't. He 'gets' his kids, he relates and he gives them what they need. That's pretty darn sexy, even if the guy is as homely as your husband.

(um, you get the sarcasm, right?)

Lauren said...

I'm only 6 months into the Mommy + Daddy game, but the general consensus is that I gained 10lbs and serious bags under my eyes while my boyfriend just got sexier. Baby talk in a French accent? Please.

Rita said...

I must have good instincts Kim. Your description of David is exactly what my 1st impression of him was - kind of sweet & Unassuming - does not feel the need to impress anyone - just sort of at peace with himself and good looking as well. That's the type of man most women would find attractive. These macho types are mostly in love with themselves. I've also seen firsthand how patient and kind he is with your girls. You really do have a gem!!xxRita

Cheryl Arkison said...

That's the best love letter ever.

Warner (aka ntsc) said...

To some extent, although there are exceptions, I agree with David on carbs. The veal with filling looks interesting however.

Mommy Lisa said...

My husband loved this...he did say, "What no meat?" Then laughed...

What a great meal to have on hand.