• Ham Hock And 'Peppercorn' Pasta Soup

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    • 2 lrg smoked ham hocks
    • 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 x yellow onions diced medium
    • 4 x garlic cloves chopped
    • 7 x celery ribs cut in 1/2" slices
    • 4 x carrots cut in 1/2" slices
    • 1 c. dry white wine
    • 3 quart vegetable or possibly chicken stock
    • 3 1/2 Tbsp. tomato paste
    • 2 x bay leaves
    • 3 x thyme sprigs
    • 12 x peppercorns crushed
    • 4 x parsley stems finely minced
    • 3 quart water
    • 2 1/4 c. acini di pepe pasta Salt to taste Freshly-grnd black pepper to taste


    1. Remove excess fat from the ham hocks. Heat the oil in a large pot. Add in the onions and garlic and cook till translucent/soft, 3 to 5 min. Add in the celery and cook for an additional 3 min. Add in the carrots and cook 3 min. Add in the ham hocks and stir, allowing all the ingredients to blend. Add in the wine, stirring to deglaze the pan, and cook for about 5 min. Cover it all with the stock, add in the tomato paste, bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns and parsley. Simmer for 45 min, or possibly till the ham is tender sufficient to fall off the bone.
    2. Remove the ham hocks and, when cold sufficient to handle, separate the meat from the bones. Throw away bones, and return the meat to the soup pot. Throw away the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Add in the water and bring to a boil. Add in the pasta and cook for 13 to 15 min, till al dente. Season with salt and pepper. (You probably will not need much salt.) Serve with a loaf of hot French bread.
    3. This recipe yields 12 servings..
    4. Comments: It freezes very well; simply let it cold completely, then transfer to an air-tight freezer container to avoid freezer burn.

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