2 cups red wine
1 cup sugar
3 4-inch sprigs of fresh mint or 1-1/2 teaspoons dried
6 firm pears with stems
6 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano® in large nuggets
6 fresh mint sprigs for garnish (optional)
How to make the Minted Poached Pears with Parmigiano-Reggiano®:
In a saucepan, combine the water, wine and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Cut the yellow part (the zest) of the lemon peel into long strips, free of the bitter, white pith. Juice the peeled lemon. Add the peel, juice and mint to the wine mixture and remove the saucepan from the heat.
Leaving the stem attached, peel each pear and cut a thin slice off the bottom so that it will stand upright. To avoid discoloration, quickly place it into the wine mixture. When all the pears are peeled, return the saucepan to medium high heat and bring the liquid to a gentle simmer. Adjust heat so that the liquid does not boil. Cook pears 15 to 30 minutes, depending on ripeness. Test regularly with a skewer; when tender throughout, pears are done. Allow pears to cool in the poaching liquid for 30 minutes.
Remove pears and strain the poaching liquid into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook 15-20 minutes, until it coats a spoon in a light, sticky syrup. If desired, cool syrup and rewarm before serving.
To serve, spoon or brush a small puddle of warm syrup onto each plate. Place a pear in the center and arrange several nuggets of Parmigiano-Reggiano next to it. Garnish with mint sprigs and serve immediately.