Mad Men Thanksgiving Recipe: Barbetta’s Pears Baked in Red Wine alla Piemontese

This week, The Village Voice’s“Fork in the Road” blog chose a dessert recipe from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook for its perfect Vegan Thankgiving menu. Here’s the recipe courtesy of Barbetta, the oldest Italian restaurant in New York and the oldest New York restaurant still owned by its founding family, and a few words about its connection to Mad Men. Happy Thanksgiving!

Season 4, Episode 8
“The Summer Man”
After Bethany van Nuys, one of Don Draper’s post-separation dates, complains that the Benihana Steak House isn’t very intimate, their next evening out is at Barbetta, an elegant Piemontese restaurant on West 46th Street. We see Don and Bethany looking over the menu but we never hear them order or see their food. We asked Laura Maioglio, Barbetta’s current owner and the daughter of the restaurant’s founder Sebastiano, what she would have recommended for a romantic dinner for two in 1962.

For dessert she recommended pears baked in red wine alla Piemontese which also first appeared on Barbetta’s menu in 1962, and would have been the perfect way for Don and Bethany to keep the warmth of the evening going. Once you try Barbetta’s Pears Baked in Red Wine alla Piemontese you may agree that no pear has ever given its life for a better cause.

Barbetta's Pears Baked in Red Wine alla Piemontese

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time:

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

pears Mad Men Thanksgiving Recipe: Barbettas Pears Baked in Red Wine alla Piemontese

A classic Piemontese dessert recipe for pears baked in red wine sauce from New York's oldest family Italian restaurant, Barbetta.


  • 6 ripe Bosc pears
  • 2 cups red wine
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¼ cup lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Wash and dry pears.
  2. Place pears in a baking pan that accommodates 6 pears (lay them flat).
  3. In a small bowl, pour the red wine and add sugar, cloves, cinna­mon stick, and lemon juice. Stir until sugar dissolves. Pour mixture into the baking pan and place in oven.
  4. Turn pears after 5 minutes and brush with liquid in pan.
  5. Bake for approximately 1 hour (cooking time may vary depending on size and ripeness of pears), continuing to brush the pears every 10 minutes. Pears should be slightly crinkly.
  6. Remove pan from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Serve with extra red wine sauce.
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