Intelligence is often correlated to brain size, which is often correlated to head size. But we all know some pretty dumb people with big heads, so neuroscientists prefer to correlate brain size to overall body mass as a way of determining intelligence. For example, dinosaurs were huge creatures, but their heads were so small that they were probably stupid. On the other hand, birds, like the crow, are small, but are pretty darn smart. So don’t be offended if someone calls you a bird brain, but do be offended if someone says that your brain is the size of a pea, that is, unless you are the size of a bird.
The diminutive pea is often taken for granted, but the little guy has been feeding humans for thousands of years, beginning with the split pea (the mature pea in the pod), to the sweet green pea (the young pea in the pod). Until a few hundred years ago, green peas were considered a delicacy, eaten by the European noble class. Peas are now the go-to vegetable for cafeterias and parents everywhere. Fresh peas are in season during the spring — but the frozen variety seem to thrive year round. Get the fresh ones if you can, but either way, they’re brilliant with pasta.
p.s. Check out our wine pairings to complement this dish.
If using fresh peas, remove them from the pods. (If using frozen peas, blanche in boiling water or thaw in the microwave).
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the onion. Cook the onion until lightly golden. Add the peas, salt and pepper and 1 cup of water. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, drain it, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the peas, and some of the water, only if the mixture seems dry.
Serve immediately with a sprinkle of Parmigiano.