Pea Mint Ham Hock pesto

Spring Pea & Mint Pesto Pasta with Ham Hock

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This dish came about during a heated discussion with my old friend Jad about where to find the best pea & ham soup (fyi it’s at The Hind’s Head in Bray, right Jad?), whilst we were making pesto spaghetti.

The pea and mint pesto pasta with ham hock was born…

Super simple, it takes no time to prepare and bursts with the freshness of spring in every bite. All the ingredients can easily be bought at a good supermarket and are ready to go.

Using fresh peas is an option, but the very short season passes in the blink of an eye; besides which by the time a fresh pea gets to your kitchen (unless it’s from your own garden) a frozen pea will in fact be “younger” and therefore sweeter.

As for the ham hock, I think most of us would agree that boiling and preparing an actual ham hock to be a tedious task, but thankfully the people at the major supermarkets and good butchers have stepped up and done the work for us.

We took the basics of a traditional pesto (basil, garlic, parmesan, olive oil, pine nuts) and replaced the basil with peas and mint, then added a little lemon juice for extra zing. Dry toasted pine nuts, fried garlic slivers and a few whole peas add texture (and prettiness!).

Helpful Hints

While making the pesto, don’t “taste” it all, like I did, and end up with a skewed pasta to pesto ratio…

As with all pasta dishes, remember to save a little of the pasta water to bind the sauce at the final stage.

Spring Pea & Mint Pesto Pasta with Ham Hock

Spring fresh pea & mint pesto with ham hock… a British twist on an Italian classic

  • Prep Time10 min
  • Cook Time10 min
  • Total Time20 min
  • Serving Size4
  • Cuisine
    • Italian
    • British
  • Course
    • Main Course


The Pea & Mint Pesto

  • 1 cup of frozen peas plus a little extra for garnish, cooked
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 6-7 mint leaves (use more depending on size)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 1 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
  • Squeeze of lemon juice to taste
  • Salt & Pepper

The Pasta

  • 500g pasta of your choice
  • 150g pulled ham hock
  • 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
  • 1 garlic thinly sliced
  • Olive oi


  1. For the Pesto place the peas, mint, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor and pulse a couple of times. Add half the parmesan and half the oil and pulse a few more times. Finally add the remaining ingredients and pulse again until you have a thick, slightly chunk sauce.
  2. Meanwhile cook your pasta of choice according to the instructions on the packet making sure to reserve some of the water before you drain the pasta, and gently fry the sliced garlic in a little olive oil until they turn a light golden brown and are crisp.
  3. Return the pasta to pot add the pesto, ham hock, and a splash of the pasta water. Stir until evenly coated.
  4. Divide and top with the toasted pine nuts, garlic sliver, reserved peas and a drizzle of olive oil.

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