On Wednesday night, we took our friend Martine who’s visiting us from France to see “Kinky Boots” on Broadway. It’s a fun show, a real crowdpleaser, and Martine loved it. It was nice to go back to the theater. When we lived in Hell’s Kitchen we used to go very often since we were just a few blocks away from Broadway, but since we moved to Brooklyn, we don’t go that much, which is a shame. I love the theater. It’s such a truly transporting experience (or a soporific one, when you hit the wrong show).
The issue one always has to deal with, when going to a show in New York, is dinner. Since shows start at 8pm (with a few exceptions), most visitors take advantage of the pre-theater dinners at many of the local restaurants. They start at 6pm-6:30pm and they get you out in time for your show. Steve and I, however, would eat at home. We wanted something quick and easy, so we almost always opted for pasta. In the summer, we would make pesto (from a recipe from Steve’s mom, Cora) and freeze it in portions, so that we could have it all year round, including for a pre-theater quick dinner at home.
After a couple of shows, however, we realized that we needed a new plan. You see, Cora’s pesto uses a lot of raw garlic. The first time we ate pasta with pesto and we went to a show, ten minutes into it, we started burping deadly fumes. We could smell each other’s garlic breath and we were sure that so could all the other people around us. After a second show where we exposed people to our garlic breath bombs, we decided to switch dinner ideas.
So, I came up with a different version of a pesto that is without garlic. It still packs a punch, with lemon zest and parmesan, but it’s gentler on the people sitting next to you who may not like to be tear gassed while watching a play.
Macadamia and Basil Pesto
Make 1/2 cup pesto, enough for 4 pasta servings
2 cups loosely packed basil
grated zest of half a lemon
1 cup grated parmesan or pecorino
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 macadamia nuts, toasted in 350° oven for 6-7 minutes, cooled, and roughly chopped
1/4 tsp salt
Place everything, except oil in a food processor. Pulse a couple of times to combine. Start the food processor and drizzle oil in while processor is running. Pesto will be thick. Add some hot pasta water to dilute and mix with hot, cooked pasta.