Baked Pears with Blue Cheese

©PEGhardee

©PEGhardee

Call it dessert, call it first course, call it whatever, just make it! I never really liked pears growing up. Mother tried her darn best to push them on me and I refused, often tossing them out of the breakfast room window. Well, that was actually Will who did that for both of us. His chair was conveniently in front of the screenless window. Often exasperated, Mom and Dad would retire from the table to enjoy a cocktail and we were left to “clean our plates!” That’s when Will tossed LOTS of food out of that window. Just ask him! He’ll laugh and proudly admit it! Well…I have matured in to this; I know mature is a questionable word for me! But this is DELICIOUSNESS!

2 ripe but firm pears
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup Port wine
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 generous handfuls baby arugula

For dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup basting liquid

Preheat oven to 400°.
Peel pears and slice lengthwise into halves.
Remove core and seeds, leaving small well in center of each half.
Toss pears with lemon juice to prevent browning.
Arrange center side up in baking dish.
Combine blue cheese, cranberries, and walnuts in small bowl.
Toss to combine.
Divide mixture among pear halves, mounding in center.
In same bowl, combine cider, port, and sugar.
Pour mixture over and around pears.
Bake pears 30 minutes, basting occasionally with juices.
Remove from oven and set aside a few minutes.

Combine dressing ingredients.
Toss in arugula.

Spread arugula among 4 plates.
Top with pear.
Serve with a smile!

Thank you, Ina Garten!

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