in the kitchen with: meg mateo ilasco

Those of you with small children will love this pesto pasta recipe from Meg Mateo Ilasco! And even those of you who don’t have kids but want to get great flavor fast from few simple ingredients. Don’t fear that you can’t make great pesto without a mortar and pestle—all the Italian kitchens I’ve been in use a food processor like Meg does. If you get some good basil, make a big batch and freeze it (without the cheese—not sure why, but that’s what they say). If there is some left over in your jar after you’ve used it for a meal, pour a layer of oil over it to keep it, and you’re ready to go the next time you want some! Also don’t be afraid to try with different nuts and herb combinations! Click here for Meg’s full recipe or just click “read more” below. Happy Cooking- Kristina

About Meg: Meg is a writer, illustrator, and the designer behind Mateo Ilasco, a stationery and home product company (how cute is she with her kids above?). Her work often expresses a penchant for old-fashioned methods, humble materials, manual design, and physical craft. Meg is also known for her hit entrepreneurial book, Craft, Inc. and for Modern Economy, an indie design sample sale she hosts twice a year. If you’re in the Portland, OR area this weekend Meg will be holding Modern Economy: Portland this Saturday, July 19th from 10:30 am to 3pm at the Ace Hotel. Click here for details. [You can also click here for a Sneak Peek into Meg’s Bay Area home!]

[quick note: i have to run out for a quick meeting but i’ll be back around 4 with the weekly wrap up and one more post]

Thin Spaghetti with Basil Pesto and Tomato Salad

Spaghetti and Basil Pesto
8 ounces of dried thin spaghetti
1-1/2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1 large garlic clove
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil

Tomato Salad

1 pint grape tomatoes, cut into halves
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into strips
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


1. Make Basil Pesto: In a food processor, blend basil,
garlic, salt, pepper, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese.
With the processor running, slowly pour olive oil in a
steady stream until blended. Keep covered and set

2. Meanwhile, in a large covered saucepot, bring about
two quarts of salted water to boil; stir in pasta and
cook uncovered, until tender. Drain spaghetti.

3. Make Tomato Salad: In a medium bowl, mix tomatoes,
onion, basil, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Set

3. In a large bowl, mix spaghetti and basil pesto.
Spoon spaghetti into plates or bowls and top with
tomato salad. Tastes great cold or warm!

Why I chose this recipe:

To be honest, I don’t cook that often. If only I had more time to spend in the kitchen creating elaborate meals! When you have young kids, you want to make food…fast. And this is one super easy and speedy meal that my kids love. This recipe is also great for kid participation–it doesn’t get too messy and they have fun pressing the food processor buttons.

About the wine: 2005 Newton Chardonnay (Click for full review)

This would certainly make almost anyone’s list of top ten
California Chardonnay. Newton’s Chardonnay is unfiltered and fermented
with wild yeast, native to Newton’s Carneros vineyards — still fairly
small production and a really well made wine.

Stunning golden straw in color. More impressive (and complex) in the
mouth than on the nose, soft citrus with some green apple, pear and a
hint of jicama and almond, notes of mineral and wet stone — some
exotic fruit, amazing balance with a pure and long finish. Impeccable.

  1. Jnett says:

    Yes, but when is her on-line shop going to be up! :-)

  2. Julie says:

    The reason you dont add the cheese if you are going to freeze it is because it will taste a little wierd when you deforst it. So freeze everything but the cheese, and add it back later!

    Julie ;)

  3. Erin G says:

    Can’t wait to try this recipe! To further what Julie said, cheese is a ‘living,’ changing thing like wine or beer. It is still evolving (hence the mold if neglected) and freezing it basically kills all the amazing bacteria which makes it cheese and all it’s yummy flavor.

  4. bussbuss says:

    i make this meal fairly often too, but meg makes it look so much prettier — how gorgeous is she and her kids, btw?!

    would love to see a sneak peek of her home…love the white with pops of color we get a peek of. that’s right up my alley. :)

  5. 14k says:

    Thanks for the recipe.

  6. grace says:


    there’s a link to meg’s sneak peek in the post above! :)


  7. bussbuss says:

    ooh i feel silly — thanks for the link, grace!

    i love, love, love her home! so personal and such an effortless mix of colors, materials and prints. thanks for the inspiration!

  8. dd says:

    recipe so simple and so sophisticated. one thing makes me wonder: where can you get such sweet kids from?

  9. kristina says:

    well, i loved this recipe, but even more i love the pictures of the kids, which was titled “meandkids.jpg”. At first glance, i thought it said, “MEAN KIDS” and I could not for the life of me understand why meg would call such beautiful kids MEAN, then I noticed the D and just laughed!

  10. meg Ilasco says:

    dude. those kids are MEAN. just kidding! thanks for including me kristina and grace.

  11. becca says:

    just made this last night and my boyfriend and i loved it!

  12. debbie de la best says:

    why do we even buy pre-made pesto? this has become a staple in my house the last two months. thanks so much!

  13. poppypixel says:

    what a GREAT recipe for a mid-week summer dinner—can’t wait to try it—thanks! :)

  14. April says:

    This is so useful! Thanks! :)


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