Green and round, they are a part of the legume family. Nowadays, we are used to seeing them in the freezer department of supermarkets, but they are also sold fresh, in pods, for a short period of time during spring, usually in April.
These last ones are bigger in size compared to the freezer ones you can get all year long and they have to be shuck before they can be eaten: the total weight will be reduced to one third. If you like them, you can eat the fresh ones raw, like broad beans with some semi-aged pecorino cheese or in a mixed salad.
Otherwise, if you want to cook them, you can either boil them in some salted water for about 15-20 minutes, or you can sauté them in a pan with some olive oil and onion and stew them on low heat by adding water title by little – this process will take almost one hour. They are fantastic as a side dish, with some pasta or with some rice – really quite versatile.
In the shops, you can find the canned version, very easy to store even if you don’t have a freezer, or the dry version, which will need to swell up again like chickpeas and lentils and which are great for purées and soups.