Gnocchi alla Sorrentina – gnocchi with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil

This gnocchi recipe hails from Sorrento and champions three of Campania’s most famous ingredients – fresh flavourful tomatoes, verdant basil and creamy mozzarella. As the cheese melts into the sauce, it binds everything together with gooey strings of indulgence – a perfect combination of hearty comfort food and the flavours of Italian summertime.

First published in 2019

Named after the famed location just off the Campanian coast, gnocchi alla Sorrentina is a dish that perfectly embodies the spirit of this region, in which flavours from high-quality, locally-sourced ingredients are combined into dishes that shine for simplicity as much as for sophistication.

The joyous nature of gnocchi alla Sorrentina makes it especially suited to a festive family lunch. This perhaps justifies the effort of making the dish from scratch, starting with the potato gnocchi themselves and moving on to the homemade tomato sauce. And yet, despite being fairly labour-intensive, the ingredients are of the simplest kind, and so is their coming together, inevitably, under the influence of a hot oven, which will melt the mozzarella and bind the gnocchi into a delicious thread of cheesy strings.




Gnocchi alla Sorrentina

To make the tomato sauce

  • 600g of passata
  • 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • salt
  • pepper


  • Potato ricer


Boil the potatoes whole, skin on, until cooked through. Drain then transfer to a frying pan set over a low heat. Gently heat the potatoes until they feel dry on all sides. Allow them to cool
To make the tomato sauce, place the oil and the garlic in a medium saucepan set over a medium heat. Add the passata and 60ml water, cover and allow the sauce to cook for 30 minutes, stirring often. Taste, season and keep warm
Peel the skins from the cooled potatoes and discard
Scatter three-quarters of the flour over a work surface. Press the potato though a ricer onto the flour, form the mixture into a well and add the egg yolks. Shape everything into a soft dough, gradually adding the flour until you form a soft pliable texture. Dust the work surface with a little more flour and divide the dough into 4
Roll out the dough into long cylinders, about the thickness of your thumb. Cut each length into segments, then press each one onto a gnocchi board or fork to give them a ridged texture. Reserve on a flour-lined tray
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 5
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a rolling boil. Add the gnocchi and cook until they float on the surface, this should take approximately 3 minutes. Drain with a slotted spoon and place in the tomato sauce
Stir and transfer to an oven-proof dish. Dress with the mozzarella and basil, dust with grated pecorino and cover with foil. Bake for 10 minutes, until the mozzarella has melted. Remove the foil and finish under the grill for 2–3 minutes, until the cheese is golden. Serve immediately

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