If using dried chick-peas, rinse them and soak overnight in cold water to cover in the refrigerator. Drain and rinse again. Put the chick-peas in a medium saucepan with fresh, cold water to cover and the ham hock or prosciutto, if using. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, until tender, about 1 hour. Drain and set aside. Discard the ham hock or prosciutto.