Gnocchi alla sorrentina is a simple dish made with potato gnocchi, tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil. It’s hearty and fresh at the same time and very easy to make. With a few shortcuts, my version is on the table in 20-minutes.
I’ll spare you my usual swooning over Italian dishes as an introduction because, if you’ve been following along, you already know my love of pasta and pretty much anything Italian. Many, many of the pasta dishes I’ve shared over the years are either directly lifted from that amazing country or serve as the inspiration for something else. If you check out my pasta recipe collection, you’ll see what I mean.
And today it’s all about a simple gnocchi dish with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil otherwise known as gnocchi alla sorrentina. Like a lot of Italian dishes it’s named for the town from which it hails, in this case, Sorrento, a town located south of Naples.
It’s known as a summer dish and is often made with tomatoes fresh from the vine and basil plucked from a tender sun-kissed plant, but if you allow for a little wiggle room there’s no reason you can’t serve it year-round. It happens to be the dead of winter here now and I just couldn’t wait until the summer to share it.
A Simple Tomato Sauce
You’ll find variations, but the common thread I’ve found among recipes is the very simple tomato sauce.
I like to start with a cold pan and add the olive oil and garlic. Turn the heat to medium and, as the oil warms up, stir it with the garlic. As soon as the garlic is fragrant and lightly sizzling in the oil I add the tomato puree.
In the summer, folks use fresh tomatoes to make a passata or tomato puree and to it add some garlic, salt, and fresh basil. Seeing as my tomato plants died about three months ago, I used store-bought tomato puree. Muir-Glen makes an excellent one.
Once you’ve added the tomato puree, salt, and basil just bring the sauce to a simmer. That’s it.
About the Gnocchi
It is at this point I will probably lose the purists (byeee!) seeing as I took a massive short-cut with this recipe. Homemade gnocchi is on my to-do list, but for ease (and, let’s face it, laziness) I used store-bought gnocchi. It has a bad rep and not all brands are created equal. I’ve had the best luck with Delallo gnocchi and am perfectly happy to use it if it means I can have gnocchi alla sorrentina more often.
If you want a more adventurous experience, by all means, make your own.
Gnocchi cooks quickly in boiling water and as soon as it floats to the top it’s pretty much done. Transfer it to your pan with the sauce and we’re almost to the finish line.
Bring it all Together
Some may transfer their gnocchi and sauce to a baking dish, but I just use my oven-safe pan. Fewer dishes, happier life.
Just top the sauce and gnocchi with some sliced mozzarella cheese and pop it under the broiler until the cheese melts and gets toasty in spots.
Once it comes out of the oven I like to top it with more fresh basil, some grated Parmesan cheese, and a sprinkling of chopped parsley.
Whether it’s fall, winter, spring or summer I hope you love this easy gnocchi alla sorrentina recipe!
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Gnocchi alla sorrentina is a simple dish made with potato gnocchi, tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil. It’s hearty and fresh at the same time and very easy to make. With a few shortcuts, this version is on the table in 20-minutes.
- 4 cups gnocchi (see note)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups store-bought or homemade tomato puree
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- Chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. While you wait for it to come to a boil, you can make the sauce.
- Heat the olive oil and garlic together in a skillet over medium heat and give it a few stirs as it heats up. As soon as the garlic starts to sizzle in the oil and is fragrant, add the tomato puree. Stir to combine it with the oil.
- Once your water is boiling, add the gnocchi. Once they rise to the surface boil them for about 30 seconds longer and then scoop them out of the water and place them in the pan with the sauce.
- Stir the gnocchi into the sauce along with half of the torn basil leaves. Place the sliced mozzarella on top and transfer the skillet to the oven. Broil it for a few minutes or until the cheese is melted.
- Take the skillet out of the oven (use an oven mitt!) and spread the rest of the basil over the top. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese and the parsley, if using, over the top, and serve.
If you use store-bought gnocchi (I like Delallo) be sure to pull the gnocchi apart before you add them to the boiling water. That way they won’t stick together while they boil.
Recipe inspired by Memorie di Angelina
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Simmer
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
- Calories: 494
- Sugar: 4.9g
- Sodium: 1026.9mg
- Fat: 21.2g
- Saturated Fat: 6.2g
- Unsaturated Fat: 13.9g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 63.9g
- Fiber: 1.8g
- Protein: 14.9g
- Cholesterol: 24.1mg
Keywords: gnocchi alla sorrentina, gnocchi in tomato sauce