Spaghet and granit

We like to drop the end vowels in our Italian pronunciation. It’s how we roll.

Here’s a great new sauce recipe (sorry, gravy). From Mike Isabella’s new DC restaurant Graffiato. With fresh pasta. (No, not homemade. Not yet.)

Chef Mike Isabella will be serving this sauce with hand-cut spaghetti and fresh basil at Graffiato, his new restaurant near Verizon Center. A glance at the ingredient list might cause you to think: That’s a lot of garlic and shallots. The chef says they flavor the sauce, which ends up being rich-tasting and almost sweet. But the garlic can be reduced to 1/2 cup if you prefer. MAKE AHEAD: The chef recommends using 1/2 cup of sauce for each serving of pasta. The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Makes 5 cups


  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 4 ounces shallots, shaved or cut into very thin slices (1 cup)
  • Cloves from 1 or 2 heads garlic, shaved or cut into very thin slices (1 cup; see headnote)
  • 4 cups (17 ounces) whole stemmed cherry tomatoes (do not use grape tomatoes; they might not be juicy enough)
  • 2 cups canned plum tomatoes, crushed
  • 8 stems basil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Crushed red pepper flakes


Combine the oil and shallots in a large saute pan over low heat. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until the shallots are translucent and soft, then stir in the garlic until evenly coated. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the garlic has softened, then stir in the cherry tomatoes and the crushed plum tomatoes. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the basil.

Partially cover and cook for 1 hour; most or all of the cherry tomatoes should be deflated, and the mixture should be somewhat blended in a rich sauce. Discard the basil.

Season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes to taste.

Serve right away; or cool, cover and refrigerate or freeze.


For dessert, Watermelon Granita. Skipped the sugar. Totally worked.


Watermelon Granita (Bon Appétit)


  • 4 cups (1 3/4 pounds) cubed seedless watermelon (from a 4-lb. melon)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice


  • Purée all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into a 9x9x2″ metal baking pan. Freeze mixture for 1 hour. Stir, mashing any frozen parts with the back of a fork. Cover and freeze mixture until firm, about 2 hours. Using a fork, scrape granita vigorously to form icy flakes. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover tightly with foil and keep frozen. Give it a quick scrape before serving.
Also made these Honeydew Lime Pops, but forgot to take a pic. Again, skipped the sugar!


  • 4 cups 1″ cubes peeled honeydew melon
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup mild honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar


  • Purée all ingredients and 1/4 cup water in a food processor until smooth. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium pitcher; strain, pressing on solids to extract purée. Divide among molds. Cover; insert ice-pop sticks. Freeze until firm. Dip bottoms of molds into hot water for 20-30 seconds to loosen pops. Remove pops from molds and serve.

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