Martin Scorsese films tend to be intense stories filled with drama. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore is no exception. The movie stars Ellyn Burstyn – who won an Oscar for this role – as Alice, a recently widowed mother who finds a way to support herself and her son, Tommy, by singing and waitressing. In Alice’s determination to make a new life for herself, she and Tommy meet a variety of people during their journey who change their lives in both positive and dangerous ways.
In the very beginning of the movie, Alice, Tommy, and her husband Donald (before his death) are shown sitting down to dinner. Alice makes lamb for Donald “just the way he likes it.” When she asks her husband how he likes the lamb, he replies “It’s okay” without looking up from his plate. Alice proceeds to talk to herself when Donald and Tommy don’t respond or acknowledge her effort to make conversation. After more uncomfortable silence, Alice asks her son if he likes the meal, to which Tommy responds, “I hate lamb.”
Alice tries hard to please her family, but still ends up frustrated by their unengaged attitudes and disrespect. The movie shows how Alice comes into her own after the death of her husband, and even though she doesn’t have all the answers or know exactly what she is doing, the point is that she’s trying. In her struggle for independence, Alice attempts to figure out what she wants and is taking her life into her own hands.
While there is an assortment of food in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, the lamb consumed early in the movie represents an important moment for Alice, and for viewers getting to know the main character. While you’re watching this Scorsese film, make and enjoy Lamb Lollipops with Homemade Mint Pesto. These lamb lollipops are a surprisingly quick and easy dish to make while still being insanely delicious and juicy.
After making homemade mint pesto for the first time, I questioned why I ever buy pesto from the store. This mint pesto, while subtle so as not to be overwhelmingly minty, is fresh and packed with flavor and all it takes is a food processor to combine all of the ingredients. Buy the lamb already “frenched” (or use this helpful step-by-step) so all you have to do is sear and bake it.
I can’t get enough of these succulent lamb chops. The first bite was everything I hoped and imagined it would be, and then some. The warm lamb lollipops are blanketed in the fragrant mint pesto, and every bite is thoroughly satisfying. Garnish the pesto crust with toasted pine nuts, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and a mint leaf.
Lamb Lollipops with Homemade Mint Pesto
8 small lamb chops
1 cup fresh basil, washed and dried
½ cup fresh cilantro, washed and dried
3 cloves garlic
½ cup olive oil
½ cup pine nuts, toasted; 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts for garnish
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese; grate extra for garnish
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, washed and dried; save leaves for garnish
Salt and pepper for seasoning and taste
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Salt and pepper both sides of lamb chops (aka lollipops). Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a food processor, mix basil, cilantro, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and mint leaves. Process until well combined and smooth.
3. Sear lamb lollipops on a hot pan for 1 minute on each side. Cover each lamb lollipop with a spoonful of pesto. Spread the pesto until the entire side is covered. Bake lamb chops on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. A pesto crust will form and the
flavors will richen.
4. After 10 minutes, take the lamb lollipops out of the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the pesto crust with Parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts, and a mint leaf. Enjoy!
© A Dash of Cinema
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Food Images by A Dash of Cinema; Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore image by Warner Bros.