Granita alla Menta

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Granita alla Menta
cookbook: Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking
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serves: 6

Granita, the Italian version of sorbet, granular in texture, is easy to make and quite refreshing after a good meal. Italians prefer fruit or a granita after a meal, rather than a complex dessert.


1¾ cups sugar
1 large bunch mint, washed (about 2 packed cups)
Juice of 2 lemons
2 mint herbal tea bags (not black tea)


Put the sugar in a medium saucepan with 2 cups of water, and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir in the mint and lemon juice. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags, and steep for 15 minutes. Strain and cool.

Pour into a wide, shallow metal pan so the granita comes about an inch up the sides. Put in the freezer. Once ice crystals begin to form around the sides of the pan, after about an hour, scrape the granita with a fork to incorporate the crystals back into the slush. Keep freezing and scraping every ½ hour to an hour, until the granita is completely frozen in light, fluffy crystals, about 6 hours.

Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking

In her beautifully illustrated new cookbook, Lidia Bastianich lays out a comprehensive curriculum of wise cooking tips--from the cutting board to the kitchen table. Channeling the instructive elements from the companion Public Television series, Lidia’s Kitchen, she teaches us that a good dose of common sense is the key ingredient to a stellar meal. As storyteller and chef, Lidia draws on anecdotes to educate and illustrate. Recalling lessons learned from her mother, Erminia, and her grandmother, Nonna Rosa, Lidia pays homage to the kitchen sages who inspired her. Whether it's Citrus Roasted Veal or Rustic Ricotta Tart, each recipe is a tangible feast. We learn to look at ingredients as both geographic and cultural indicators; in Campania, the region where mozzarella is king, we discover it is best eaten three hours after preparation. In Genova we are taught that while focaccia had its basil origins in the Ligurian culinary tradition, the herbs and flavorings will change from region to region--home chefs can experiment with rosemary, oregano, olives, or onions! When it's time for dessert, Lidia draws on the sacred customs of nuns in Italian monasteries and convents and reveals the secret to Rice Pudding with a Blessing. Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking is a collection of 150 delectable recipes told with common sense cooking wisdom that teaches us how create simple, seasonal, Italian dishes with grace, confidence, and love.

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