Today I share with you a recipe that is near and dear to my heart. This is the marinara sauce that I grew up on, the sauce that made its way into our family generations ago and has remained unchanged ever since. You may have read previous blog posts about how my parents grew up around the block from each other in West Philadelphia. I’ve also written about how, back then, the neighborhoods, made up of super long row home-lined streets, were mainly a mix of Italian and Jewish families. Italians and Jews are pretty much the same people with the exception of the obvious – religion and food. No doubt my grandmother shared many of her Eastern European recipes with her Italian neighbors. She was the closest person to these recipes that I ever knew, as she was the first generation to be born here in the U.S. And likewise, her Italian neighbors shared many of their tried and true recipes with her. Surely, this marinara recipe was not my grandmother’s creation and more of a gift from a generous neighbor, but to me, it has always been and will always be known as Bubby’s Marinara.
The word Bubby is the Yiddish word for grandmother. Yiddish was the language spoken by Eastern European Jews before the Holocaust – sort of a hybrid language between German and Hebrew. Kind of cool. My Bubby, as I mentioned, was part of the first English-speaking generation in our family and was fluent in Yiddish. She spoke it to my mom, my mom spoke it to me and I speak it to my kids. We’re far from fluent, but we can pick up what the other one throws down. If I tell my kids they’re going to get a patsh in their tuchus, they know they better run. They’ve also grown up on Bubby’s Marinara. It’s light and bright and bursting with tomato-y flavor. It comes together easily and quickly without much fuss. The ingredients are simple and straightforward. It’s the right kind of sauce for this Summer Marinara with Sweet Corn & Burrata.
I love sauce in the summer and gravy in the winter. Friends, I’ve said this before but it bears repeating – gravy is not sauce and sauce is not gravy! Sauce is bright while gravy is dark in color. Sauce is quick and easy while gravy should be cooked low and slow for hours. Sauce is great with vegetables and gravy is all about the meat. With sauce, the acidity of the tomatoes is celebrated, while with gravy the acidity is pretty much cooked out of it. I can go on and on about the differences, but what’s even more important is what they have in common – both leave you feeling completely comforted and satisfied in a way no other food can.
This Summer Marinara with Sweet Corn & Burrata is summertime comfort. In fact, a good friend needed some comfort the other night so I made it for her, and I think she left feeling slightly better. I fully credit the food. The sweetness of the corn balances the acid content in the sauce, and the creaminess of the burrata is indulgence defined. And if you’re like me, your garden zucchini is growing in full force, so why not throw some into this dish and up your veggie content? It’s never a bad idea. You can boil the corn on the stove top while you make the marinara. Then all that’s left is to cook the pasta and dinner is served! The zucchini cooks right in with the pasta – super easy. The entire meal is done in 30 minutes. Cause what should summer cooking be? That’s right! EASY.
Bubby didn’t add much to her marinara, but I think she would have really loved the creamy burrata. Be sure you let it come to room temperature while you’re cooking the meal. Nobody likes cold cheese on hot pasta. And have some wine with this meal – Bubby always did. While I have been on a white wine kick for pretty much the entire summer, I do love a light-bodied red with this Summer Marinara with Sweet Corn & Burrata. Try a slightly chilled Pinot Noir or Grenache. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do. It is a true family heirloom!
- 8 oz. tagliatelle pasta, or other egg-based pasta
- 3 ears of corn
- 1 medium-sized zucchini
- 1 piece of burrata cheese
- 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup dry red wine
- 1/4 cup lightly-packed fresh basil
- 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
Remove burrata from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature while you cook the rest of the meal. Fill a large pot with the ears of corn and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and keep covered.
In a medium-sized pot, saute the garlic in the olive oil over medium-low heat until it sizzles and turns slightly brown. Stir in the tomatoes, wine, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Using a vegetable peeler, run it vertically down the zucchini until you have long ribbons. Discard the center of the zucchini where the seeds are. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook 7 minutes. Add zucchini ribbons and cook an additional 2 minutes. Drain and keep warm.
Remove corn from water and shave the kernels off the cob. Plate the pasta and zucchini. Spoon the sauce on top, followed by the corn and burrata.