Cafe Society

What's Cooking: Rosé-poached pears with Pete

Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with the big, new kitchen. They often bring some of their market's choicest ingredients home with them, and cook up a feast.

The trick, says Pete of this week's poached pears recipe, is not to overwhelm the fruit. "Don't keep throwing in spices or serve the pears with too many other different flavors," he cautions. The recipe calls for a bottle of rosé wine, which gives the pears a gorgeous pink tint, but Pete and Barb both agree that a sparkling rosé works just as well. "We actually used a sparkling rosé because it was all we had, but sparkling wines are no different than still ones once you boil them," notes Barb.

Poached Pears in Rosé

6 ripe d'Anjou pears (firm to the touch on the body, but soft at the stem when pressed lightly with your finger), peeled, halved, and cored. We like d'Anjou pears for this. 1 bottle rosé wine 1 cinnamon stick 1 whole star anise 1 cup vanilla sugar (available at the Savory Spice Shop, or you can make your own*)

In a large heavy saucepan bring the wine, cinnamon sticks, star anise and vanilla sugar to a simmer over medium heat. Place the pears into the liquid, and simmer for 7-10 minutes. Remove pears with a slotted spoon and set aside. Remove the cinnamon stick and star anise, and bring the liquid to a boil over high heat. Reduce by one-half, or until it has a syrup-like consistency.

Serve the pears warm or at room temperature. The Marczyk's serve them with vanilla ice cream and Jules Destrooper almond thins.

* Vanilla sugar: Take 1 vanilla bean and split lengthwise. Put in a container with 2 cups white or raw sugar. Cover and let sit for 2 weeks, shaking occasionally.

For more from Pete, Barbara and Marczyk Fine Foods, visit the market website. And be sure to check out Who's Drinking with Pete.