1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
5 whole cloves or pinch of ground cloves
6 to 8 whole peppercorns or 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted pistachios or other nuts (optional)
PEEL and halve pears; remove cores.
PLACE pear halves in large saucepan.
ADD wine and remaining ingredients except for nuts (tip: use a tea ball for the whole cloves and peppercorns).
BRING to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer, covered, until pears are soft (tip of paring knife inserted into pear will meet no resistance), 10 to 30 minutes depending on ripeness of pears. Remove pears from liquid and set aside in serving bowl.
INCREASE heat under liquid to medium-high and boil until liquid is reduced by about half and syrupy, 20 to 30 minutes. Pour syrup over pears and let cool. Serve at room temperature, sprinkling with nuts just before serving.