Gnocchi alla Sorrentina
Updated: May 7, 2020
This recipe is one of my all time favourites - perfect fluffy potato gnocchi in a tomato sauce and topped with oozy mozzarella ! This dish originates from Sorrento, near Naples, Italy - although I’m not sure how true mine is to original it sure is delicious! This no bake version is packed full of flavour and takes half the time - so please let me know what you think.
The most important part of this dish is choosing the correct potatoes - in order to get those perfect, cloud like, pillowy, gnocchi. I would recommend a starchy potato like Dutch Creams or Maris Piper, alternatively you could ask your local grocery store attendant what’s the suitable in season potato for you!
For the sauce:
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 tsp of dried oregano or thyme
1 x 400g can peeled or chopped tomatoes
2 good pinches of salt or to taste (I use Maldon salt)
10 basil leaves
50g grated parmesan
200g fresh mozzarella
For the gnocchi:
1kg starchy potatoes
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp ground nutmeg
3 tsp salt, I used Maldon
250g 00 flour, plus extra for dusting
For the tomato sauce:
In a shallow cast iron pan (30cm) or a large saucepan, on a medium heat cook butter and EVOO and add oregano, garlic and onion.
Cook until onion is translucent and starting to brown slightly (around 7 minutes), but do not allow garlic to darken so adjust heat if you need to.
Now add the canned tomatoes, as well as just under a cup of water (200ml) and half the basil leaves, and allow to cook for around 20 minutes gently bubbling, while you start on the gnocchi.
For the gnocchi:
Fill a large pot with enough water to cover all the potatoes, salt the water generously and bring to the boil.
Rinse and scrub the potatoes of any dirt then peel the skin off.
Chop the potatoes if need be, into large wedges, so they all cook at the same rate.
Once the potatoes are cooked through immediately mash (or use a potato ricer if you have one) until perfectly smooth, then spread out the mashed potato on a tray or chopping board to allow the steam to escape quickly. (If you have more time, leaving the mashed potato to cool in a bowl is fine also).
In a large bowl, add the egg, salt and ground nutmeg to the mashed potato and mix well to combine fully. (Be careful not to scramble the egg if the potato is still warm so beat rapidly).
Begin mixing in the flour and knead it into a smooth dough until it just comes together. (Do not overwork or you’ll end up with stodgy gnocchi, and nobody wants that!)
Turn mixture out onto a floured chopping board or bench top, and taking handfuls of dough, roll into a log about 1 1/2cm wide, then cut the log into 2cm long pieces.
Dust gnocchi generously with flour so it doesn’t stick while you work on making the rest of the gnocchi.
In the same large pot, and fill it with fresh water. Bring to the boil again and add salt to the water before turning the stovetop down to a medium for so the water simmers.
Tip the gnocchi into the pot and cook for around two or three minutes or until the gnocchi begin to float.
Take the gnocchi out of the pot, so as not to overcook and add to the tomato sauce, tossing to coat, and add small swig of EVOO and let the gnocchi absorb the sauce for around a minute before serving.
Serve gnocchi in medium pasta bowls sprinkled with remaining basil leaves, Parmesan, torn up mozzarella, and cracked pepper. Enjoy!
Notes: If you wish to bake this gnocchi in the oven, at the 2nd to last step cover gnocchi in sauce and then transfer to an oven proof dish. Sprinkle the top of the gnocchi with the parmesan, mozzarella and pepper before cooking for 15 minutes at 165*C (fan forced). Once the top is golden brown and bubbling sprinkle with remaining basil and serve immediately!