Riva's recipe is appealing in its straightforwardness: all she calls for are 1 pound of strawberries, 1 pound of rhubarb, sugar (1 3/4 cups of it) and water. While I loved the concept, her compote was a little sweet for my taste, and I had some ideas for a possible riff. The second time around, I added less sugar (I used turbinado, which I think gives the compote a caramel undertone), infused the compote with some orange peel, and splashed in a glug or two from the open bottle of rosé that was lying around in my fridge. The compote, cooked just until the fruit started to fall apart but had not yet become a complete mush, was tart and fresh, perfumed with the oils from the orange peel, and it had just enough sweetness to keep your mouth from puckering. —Merrill Stubbs
about 2 cups
rhubarb (4 large stalks), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan and add 1/4 cup water. Set over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cook gently, uncovered, for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more water if the mixture seems too dry. You want the fruit to cook through and soften without completely losing its texture.
Cool and serve over yogurt or ricotta, with ice cream, or on its own.