I love eating watermelon throughout the summer. It's such a refreshing treat for those hot, sweltering days that are just around the corner. My favorite way to have it is just as it is, cut up into chunks and ice-cold. But I thought I'd change it up and try something new by making watermelon granita. I've been wanting to try making a granita at home because it reminds me of my other favorite summertime treat, Italian ice!
Living in Brooklyn as a child, there seemed to be a pizzeria around every corner (maybe more than one, actually). I remember going for pizza with my friends after school all the time and all these pizzerias would have a little window off to the side where they'd sell Italian ice (I've always called it "Italian icy" for some reason) during the summer. I loved getting the Italian ices. My favorite flavors were cherry, chocolate, lemon, and rainbow - I guess I pretty much liked them all! And you'd get them in one of those little paper cups and worry that the paper would disintegrate before you get a chance to finish. But who are we kidding - it takes but 2 to 3 minutes to polish one off. That taste of a cherry Italian ice brings me right back to Brooklyn, to being a kid, and of summer.
A granita is probably the closest way I can get to a homemade "Italian ice" without any equipment. Where Italian ice is smooth, a granita is more like shaved ice and chunky in texture. Both are refreshing and a nice dessert for the hot summer days. So until you can get to your local pizzeria or ice cream/Italian ice shop, you can make and enjoy a nice icy granita at home.