A taste of spring

By admin
21 August 2013

Food blogger Sarah Graham is ready for spring and shares her recipe for spaghetti with pea pesto.

Spring is in the air. Well, our laidback Capetonian friends might not be quite convinced yet as the chilly weather seems to be lingering a little down south, but up in Gauteng it most certainly is. You can smell it, you can feel it, and, most importantly you can taste it.

There's something very special and comforting about spring fruit and vegetables. Their simple hopefulness and sweet anticipation for freshness and new life. Their light-hearted sunniness and bright-coloured vibrancy that quietly but determinedly banishes the moodiness of winter. The realisation that once again, nature has brought much-needed change always makes my heart smile.

And when I think of spring, I very often think of peas and their beautiful bright greenness. It doesn’t take much to send me off on a tangent about how much I love peas. They’re one of my favourite freezer staples, and they very cleverly pretty up almost anything.

I throw them into a curry at the last minute, into soups and stews, I add them into fish cakes, and I also love them smashed along with mint and a scattering of lemon zest into ever-obliging mashed potato. And then, sometimes, I like to see them in all their humble glory in something like this, where they’re the unashamed star of the show.

Just a cup of peas, blitzed together with olive oil, pine nuts, lemon juice, garlic, mint and seasoning takes you to pea pesto perfection. Add in a smattering of crispy-fried ruby chorizo croutons and silky strands of pasta and this is absolutely one of my favourite things to eat. Also, it’s effortless and very nearly instant.

Spaghetti with Pea Pesto and Chorizo Croutons

Serves 2. Preparation time 5 minutes. Cooking time 12 minutes


1 T olive oil

200 g spaghetti

100 g chorizo, cubed (or bacon)


1 c frozen peas, thawed

1-2 T olive oil

1 T lemon juice

1 T fresh mint, chopped

2 T pine nuts

½ clove garlic, crushed

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

1-2 T hot water to loosen, if necessary


1. To a large pot of salted boiling water add a little olive oil and spaghetti and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes, then drain, drizzle with olive oil and set aside.

2. PESTO: Make your pesto by blending the ingredients together with a stick or jug blender or in a food processor, adjust for seasoning and add a little hot water to loosen if necessary.

3. Fry the chorizo cubes in a little olive oil until golden and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper.

4. Toss the spaghetti with the pesto until well coated, divide between two warmed bowls, top with the chorizo croutons and extra sea salt and black pepper to taste.

TIP: The chorizo can be replaced with bacon.

-  Sarah Graham

Food blogger, cookbook author, cooking show host

You can read more of Sarah’s thoughts on her blog afoodieliveshere.co.za

You can buy her cookbook bitten in major bookstores in South Africa and online via her website.

Watch her TV show, “bitten – Sarah Graham Cooks Cape Town” on Sundays at 4pm on SABC3.

More from Sarah:

Sarah Graham blogs for us

Sarah Graham: Moving forward

Souped up

What's with all the baking?

Find Love!