It has come to my attention that you can pretty much do what you like with a pesto as long as it has the key ingredients of herbs for freshness, nuts for crunch, good olive oil and a smattering of parmesan.  The addition of sun dried tomatoes took this one to the next level giving it a zesty sweetness and the roasted almonds really kicked the nuttiness up a notch.  For a really simple meal, this would be good  on its own, wrapped around silky strands of spaghetti.  However, never content with just the basics, I added chorizo, mushroom and red onion…….just because!

Leftover pesto will keep in the fridge for up to one week.


Prep time:  20 Minutes                  Cooking time:  15  Minutes                $  Low Budget


Serves 4


400-500gm of spaghetti (depending on the size of your eaters)

2 chorizo sausages, diced

4 large portobello mushrooms, diced

1 red onion, peeled, halved and sliced top to botoom

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/2 bunch of continental parsley, stems removed and discarded and roughly chopped

1/2 a cup of pasta water

Finely grated parmesan and lemon wedges to serve


For the Pesto:


1 tsp of chilli flakes (optional)

1/2 a bunch of continental parsley, stems removed and discarded

1/2 cup of basil leaves

1/2 cup of sun dried tomatoes

2 garlic cloves

1/3 cup of roasted almonds

1/3 cup of parmesan cheese

1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil + extra if needed

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Sea salt and cracked pepper


Place the herbs, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, almonds, parmesan, lemon juice and olive oil in your food processor and season with salt and pepper. Blitz until you have a nice, paste like consistency, using a spatula to scrape down the sides at various intervals.  Have a taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.


Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta for approximately 12 minutes or until al dente`.  (it should still be slightly firm in the centre.


Heat a large frypan and fry the chorizo until golden.  Remove the chorizo and add the onion, adding a little oil if necessary and when it is just starting to soften add the mushrooms.  Continue to fry until soft and add the chorizo back to the pan with the juice of 1/2 a lemon.   This will help to deglaze the pan and lift all of the flavour from the bottom.  Reduce the heat to low.


Drain the pasta and reserve 1/2 a cup of the water.  Put the pasta back in the large pot and add 3-4 tablespoons of the pesto along with the pasta water, chorizo mixture and the fresh chopped parsley.  Toss well to combine over a low heat.


To serve, divide between bowls and sprinkle over parmesan cheese.  Serve with lemon wedges if you so desire.