The Beauty of Pesto

I know I mostly write about design-related things, but this is also a place where I collect inspiration about the simple & beautiful things in life. The little things that make us happy... And not very much makes me much happier than good food. One of my favorite things to do in the late Summer & Fall is to make pesto. (image above from We had SO MUCH basil this year. (I pretty much managed to kill or seriously distress everything else we planted besides the basil.)

It's grown as tall as Christian! I took these photos about a month ago with full intentions of posting them sooner, so you'll notice that things look a bit warmer & greener than they are these days. My little assistant was wonderful and I'd highly recommend one for basil-picking:

He even came with his own bucket! Along with good food, I love spending time outside with my family. Christian & I had so much fun checking out all the final flowers in the yard as we snapped up our basil:

My "weeds" have ended up being some of my favorite flowers, like the Rose of Sharon that pops up everywhere. (And I can't kill them- yay!!! I'm honestly so terrible with plants that even my mint doesn't look so hot.)

And will this honeysuckle never stop?!!! We still have some blooms even in October! (Not that I'm complaining :)

We caught a shot of this little butterfly (or pretty moth? I'm no biologist.) on some sedum...

And these purple flowers just popped up (requiring no love) and made me really happy:

Ok, so back to the basil...

Once it was all collected in the bucket...

... And we had mounds of it...

We cut & washed it in my Grandma's collander. I pulled the chair up to the sink for Christian and he was just so excited to help.

And I broke out the blender:

Here's my Basic Ingredient List in case you don't already have one:

-Olive Oil--> and I'm not picky about very many things but olive oil is one of them... I used to be "Lauren Maestranzi" remember? ;) We always use Filippo Berio ( & love it when you can get it in the big can) and I'd say it's the most authentic "gorcery store" olive oil you can get. If they don't have it, then go with Bertoli. (and I don't go extra virgin with my pesto either.)

-Fresh Basil

-Pine Nuts

-Shredded Parmesan Cheese

-Fresh Minced Garlic (lots!)

-Salt & Pepper

-Italian Parsley

Yummy add-ons:

-Lemon juice




(I haven't listed any amounts on here because I just usually eye it. You can make it thicker by using less oil and more pesto & cheese or you can stretch it with extra oil. It's totally up to you. (I usually use just enough olive oil to get my blender to blend.) Anyway, then just blend it all up and remember at the end to salt to taste. Now put it on something yummy like pasta (loving tri-color in my pesto lately) and/or grilled chicken or even spread it on some french bread with some shredded parm melted on top in the oven.

I usually make it in huge batches and separate it out into smaller batches to freeze for easy stress-free meals later on. (Now that's simple beauty ;) (image from

I think we all know that in reality, not every meal can be lovingly prepared and/ or planned and homemade -at least not in my reality- but it really is nice to squeeze in these special meals where you have fun with your family preparing them. Some music, a nice glass of wine, or letting little ones help and make messes... I love it when meal prep can be fun: it's one of those things that needs to happen almost every night so why not make the best out of it? Even eating can be simple happy & beautiful.




Kathy said...

Martha Stewart has a really good cilantro pesto recipe (with cheese flautas) that I'm dying to try. I have a bag of frozen basil pesto in my freezer right now, and still more to harvest. Thanks for the pictures and the recipe!

chandelier magic - beach house said...

love your basil, pesto, and your little boy - he's adorable.

great blog


Gena said...

Love pesto too!!! Great set of pics.

Vintage Junky said...

YUM! I will have to try that recipe... the husband is usually the pesto maker here... but I will give it a shot!


Brenda said...

yummy. looks easy enough to make. Thank you

LindsB said...

I'm so jealous at your basil garden! Mine consists of a pot on the windowsill and I ALWAYS manage to kill it after about a week. Your pesto looks amazing, what a great thing to make with Christians help :)

Carolyn said...

YUM. I can't do this every day, but every once in awhile it's really nice and rewarding. I'm gonna make me some tonight!

A Country Farmhouse said...

Delicious, love pesto! We slacked off in the garden department so the only basil I got my hands on this summer was from the Farmer's Market. Your little boy is absolutely the sweetest. xoTrina

Robin said...

Yummy I love pesto. Thanks for the tips

Kathleen said...

Your recipe is similar to my pesto making. I've been thinking of starting pesto, I mean, basil seedlings inside so I have it around for winter.

Maria Killam said...

Wow I can't believe the mounds of basil you have in your backyard, how cool is that. And great post with the little darling in it!

MyLittleHappyPlace said...

Oh, yes! Just made some the other night. Funny, we don't have Genovese basil here in Brazil, so my friends and I smuggle seeds back from the States (shhhh!)
LOVE how it makes the entire house smell amazing!

Katrina Chambers said...

Uh Yum! Drooling!

Ruthies Renewed Treasured said...

Love it Lauren! So cool too that your kids are learning these things. My goal is to grow some basil and other things this next year. I'll be asking you for tips. Your pesto looks fabulous and the pasta made me hungry and it's breakfast time, not dinner!

Alicia B. Designs said...

i LOVE pesto. I by accident just ate it plain once/a few times.

Donna said...

This looks so yummy! Thanks for sharing the recipe. Just tried Barefoot Contessa's Mozzarella and Tomato panini with Pesto - delicious!!!

Blueprint Bliss said...

yum, yum, yum!

elisabeth (bovagoods) said...

hey lauren! can you tell that i'm completely addicted to your blog this week??? my comments keep popping up on all of your posts! hahaha! we just used pesto on salmon the other night and it was great! just spread some salmon fillets with olive oil then minced garlic and finally pesto. bake in a dish at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until done. yum! my girls even liked it! great served with a side of pasta or plain rice.