Orecchiette with asparagus pesto, fried ham, soft boiled egg and sourdough crumb

A beautiful seasonal pasta dish but you can replace the asparagus with peas if you want to make this all year round

  • 20 mins
Orecchiette with asparagus pesto, fried ham, soft boiled egg and sourdough crumb


  • Asparagus Pesto:
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 500g asparagus - snap the bottoms off as they are tough
  • 140g pinenuts toasted
  • 75g spinach leaves
  • 150g grated parmesan + extra for garnish
  • 1 small lemon zested and juiced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Sourdough breadcrumbs:
  • olive oil
  • 3 slices of sourdough - a few days old is ideal
  • 500g orecchiette pasta or pasta shells
  • 4 eggs


  1. To make the asparagus pesto wrap roast 3 garlic cloves in foil drizzled with a little olive oil and roast in oven at 180C for 15 mins till soft and caramelised, allow to cool. Steam 500g asparagus till just tender and then plunge into an ice bath to retain the colour. Transfer cooked asparagus and garlic to a food processor and add toasted pine nuts, spinach leaves, parmesan, lemon juice and zest and sea salt to taste. Blitz well and while the motor is running add olive oil till the mixture becomes smooth. If you have any leftover transfer to a container leaving a few cm at the top and seal it with canola oil as it will keep in the fridge for a week or so.
  2. To make the sourdough breadcrumbs place the sourdough slices into a food processer and blitz to a fine crumb. Heat a heavy based fry pan over moderate heat with a small amount of olive oil. Add the crumbs stirring continuously as they brown very quickly. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  3. In the same fry pan add more olive oil and a little butter, fry off the Hellers leftover Christmas ham slices chopped roughly into medium pieces. Fry till caramelised and set aside.
  4. Bring a small pot of water to the boil , add eggs, boil for 6 mins then refresh under cold water. Peel and set aside
  5. Cook Orecchiette till just tender, drain and then transfer back into pot. Add a couple of large spoonful of asparagus pesto, the fried ham and toss together well. Transfer to serving bowls and place a soft boiled egg on top of each one. Finish by sprinkling generously with sour dough crumbs, a pinch of lemon zest, more parmesan and a drizzle of good evo