Broccoli Pistachio Pesto

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I’ve been having such vivid dreams lately. I’m no Freud but I believe that our dreams can most definitely guide us, allow us to possibly see things a little clearer. Lately I’ve been dreaming about my life before I had children. It’s hard to believe that I actually had one but I did and in that life - I was an actress.

I was living in the rat race - waiting for my career to be exactly (perfectly) the way I thought I wanted it to be before I was “ready” to start a family. And I’m pretty positive, had I not gotten pregnant with an IUD with my son (0.01% chance of getting pregnant with an IUD btw!) I probably would not have 2 utterly scrumptious children today. I very likely might have still been pounding the pavement of auditioning or I might have been performing on Broadway or the West End in London or starring in a Hollywood movie but then I’d be “too busy” to have children and then I’d wake up one day too old to start or maybe I’d be unemployed, alone and depressed sitting at the corner bar in the middle of the afternoon with a cigarette and a hat drinking pontificating about the good old days when I was pretty and young - who the heck knows - all I know is that presently, I could not and would not want my life to have unfolded any other way.

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I’ve always seen myself as a character actress. One that changes with each role. Always gravitated towards playing women much different from myself - from various classes, cultures and environments. When I first started studying acting, I was 20 years old and most of the roles I was given to play were boring to me. I wanted to play those women in their 40s who had been through some shit and had depth. So, if I look at this time away from that perspective - I’m almost 40 and I can now play all those delicious roles!

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Throughout these past few years (4 to be exact) my father would periodically ask me if I was going to start performing again, concerned I would wake up one day in regret. My response was always the same, “If I missed it Pop, I would be doing it.” And I never missed it. I’ve never woken up in regret that I’ve taken this extraordinary time to experience pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood. Never. Not once. No desire to do anything else except be with my young ones, cook and write. Honestly. Until now.

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Here I am, almost 40, now living in the county, about to create an organic farm, with my sexy husband (pic below!), 2 kids, 2 dogs, 10 sheep, 2 pigs, far away from big city representation with incredibly cheesy community theatre all around. Surprisingly, being away from that grind (and also having a family I don’t want to be too far away from) has inspired a change of how I want to get back up under those lights again and perform.

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And so, somewhere in this farm of ours we are going to build a theatre. A farm to stage experience if you will. Pick your own snacks from our seasonal abundance, sip some amazing local wine and watch some badass theatre in the elements of nature. Like how Shakespeare did it back in the day. His audience would have to walk through town to get to the theatre - stopping off to get some food, some drink and some women. Well, this would be without the brothel though. Sorry boys.

 

Broccoli Pistachio Pesto Pasta

Any leftover pesto is delicious smeared on some really good bread along with some really good cheese and made into an old school grilled cheese sandwich. Amazing.

  • 1 medium head of broccoli (about 3 cups), cut into very small florets
  • 1/3 cup pistachios, toasted
  • handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/3 cup pecorino or parmesan, freshly grated
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon + fine grain sea salt
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • whole grain fusilli or other bite size pasta

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. I use the same pot to blanch the broccoli as I do cook the pasta in.

When the water is rapidly boiling, add the broccoli and cook just until it turns a nice green color, about 20 seconds. Using a small strainer, carefully gather the broccoli florets, put them into a larger strainer and run cold water over them to stop the cooking. Reserve about 1/3 cup of the small broccoli trees as a garnish.

Add the remaining broccoli to a food processor along with the pistachios, basil, pecorino or parmesan, garlic, lemon juice and sea salt. Turn on and drizzle in the olive oil while blending until smooth. Taste, adjust with more salt or lemon juice if needed. Set aside.

Cook the pasta according to the package - al dente. Reserve about 1/4 cup pasta water before draining. Drain pasta then transfer the hot pasta back into the pot you cooked it in along with about 1/2 of the pesto, the reserved pasta water and the reserved broccoli florets. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes. Taste, add more pesto if needed. Store any leftover pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for about 3 days.

Transfer pasta to serving dish, drizzle some good olive oil on top and a bit more freshly grated pecorino or parmesan.