Makes about 1 cup.
Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance. From "Sunday Suppers at Lucques" by Suzanne Goin (Knopf, $35).
1 lb. rhubarb
1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. white wine
3/4 tsp. cornstarch
Cut rhubarb stalks in half lengthwise, then slice crosswise into 1/2-inch-long pieces. Split vanilla bean in half lengthwise and use a paring knife to scrape the seeds and pulp into a medium saucepan. Add vanilla pod, sugar and 2 tablespoons water. Without stirring, bring ingredients to boil over medium heat. Continue cooking for about 8 minutes, swirling pan once in a while, until you have a deep golden brown caramel. Immediately toss in half of rhubarb and all of wine. The caramel will seize up and harden slightly. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir with a wooden spoon, breaking up rhubarb, until it's jammy. Stir in remaining rhubarb and 1/2 cup water. Cook a few minutes, until rhubarb is tender but not mushy. Remove pan from heat and strain rhubarb over a bowl, reserving rhubarb and liquid. Return liquid to pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon water with cornstarch. Whisk cornstarch mixture into boiling liquid and let it return to a bowl, stirring continuously. Reduce heat to medium and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until liquid is shiny and thickened. Pour liquid back into bowl and stir in rhubarb. Cover and chill before serving over ice cream, semifreddo or other dessert.
Serves 6 to 8.
Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance. From "The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining" by Cheryl and Bill Jamison.
1 c. sugar
4 generous c. (about 1 1/2 lbs.) 1-inch very red rhubarb pieces
1/2 pint raspberries or strawberries, cottony white centers removed
2 to 3 tsp. balsamic vinegar
In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine sugar and 1 quart warm water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to melt sugar. Add rhubarb and berries and return mixture to a boil. Reduce heat until mixture is at a very low simmer and cook until rhubarb falls apart, about 10 minutes. Stir in just enough vinegar to heighten the tang. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, strain mixture through a mesh sieve, pushing mixture with the back of a wooden spoon. Don't press hard enough to push through pulp and seeds, but try to get as much syrupy liquid as possible. Expect that quite a bit of pulp will remain to discard. Pour syrup into an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's directions. After churning, freeze until shortly before serving time. Ideally, transfer from freezer to refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving. Scoop into bowls and serve immediately.