The visit of a friend from out of town brought five of us together for a quick meal - we wanted to eat well, but easily.
Of course, pasta to the rescue - some fresh tomatoes from the market, a few basil leaves from the garden, garlic, salt...perfetto!
The new-found, quick treat came with dessert. My lucky friend has a heavily laden pear tree just outside her back door.
We picked the most ripe green-brown bulbs and chopped them up while the pasta water was boiling. Into the oven they went with a simple crumb topping - butter, sugar, flour, a little cinnamon. (We also made a peach and cinnamon-basil fruit crisp - same simple topping plus a touch of nutmeg...also delicious).
By the time we were finished with pasta, salad, and garlic-kissed, olive-oiled toast, the pears were bubbling in their juices. The surprise came when I sipped a bit of pinot noir right after a bite of those pears, still slightly crisp and not overly sweet.
The combination was incredible. I'd never had the mix before - was it the touch of cinnamon? the almost but not quite ripeness of the fruit? the intensity brought on with the oven's stewing? or magic?