Sometimes the best recipes are the ones without strict guidelines, the ones where you can completely withdraw from your massive cookbook (or iPhone-sourced instructions) and just cook. Pear season is beginning, and our favorite fall varieties are showing up at farmer's markets in Los Angeles. I made my version with red Anjou pears, but you can use any type you want, as long as they're ripe (if the pears haven't yet ripened, just increased the cook time). With this recipe, play it fast and loose with the ingredient amounts: it's going to taste good no matter what.
Honey Roasted Pears with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinegar
Pears, however many you're serving
Softened unsalted butter
Basil leaves for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Slice the pears vertically and scoop out the seeds with a spoon to form scoop-y little holes in the fruit.
Butter a baking dish on the bottom and sides. Butter the pears lightly on both sides.
Place the pears face up in the buttered baking dish, and cover them in honey, filling the scooped out holes and coating the fruit, then flip the pears over so that they're lying skin side up in the pan.
Cook for 20-25 minutes; remove the pears from the oven, flip them carefully with a spoon (they're hot!), and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Turn oven down to 350 and cook for 5-10 more minutes.
Remove the dish from the oven and transfer pears, face up, to their plates. Using a spoon, fill each scooped out hole with goat cheese (feel free to overflow with however much cheese you'd like), and then drizzle the honey-balsamic sauce the pears were cooking in over the top. You don't need to add anything to this dish, but fresh basil makes a beautiful and delicious garnish for the pears, and if you're looking for something tasty that might be more readily available in your kitchen, a little pepper is nice.