Here’s a tasty treat that’s a really nice cure for these hot summer days, and a perfect ender for your 4th of July party too! Rhubarb season is just about done, but you should still be able to find it pretty easily.
1 cup Lambrusco wine (Italian sparkling red)
¾ cup raw cane sugar
½ cup water
4 cups rhubarb, cut into half-inch chunks
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh mint, plus some extra whole leaves for garnish
Juice of one lemon
Combine water, wine and sugar in large pot and bring to boil. Keep stirring so the sugar melts. When it comes to a boil, add chopped rhubarb and mint and reduce to a simmer. When rhubarb is really soft/almost falling apart (about 7 minutes) take it off the heat and let it cool a bit.
When cool, transfer contents to blender (or use an immersion blender if you have one). You want to blend it pretty smooth – get all the lumps out.
This is the time consuming part. Working in batches, you want to pass the rhubarb mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to get as much liquid to pass through the strainer. Once you’ve got as much liquid as possible out of the mix, discard the pulp. Repeat until all the mixture has been blended. Now’s a good time to squeeze that lemon juice into the liquid too. Do half at a time, stir it in and taste it – you don’t want to lemon to overpower the rhubarb or mint.
You’re going to strain the liquid one more time for good measure, this time into a flat pan. I’m using a 9”x 9” cake pan because my freezer isn’t that big. If you have the room, a cookie sheet is better. Once you have the liquid strained again, place the pan in the freezer, and wait.
After about 45 minutes, remove the pan from the freezer, and scrape the ice mixture with a fork. You want to do this a couple times over the course of the next couple hours. This will give the granita a nice fluffy consistency.
Garnish it with some left over full mint leaves and serve it up!