Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina

Soft and tender potato gnocchi are baked in a simply perfect tomato basil sauce with bubbling mozzarella cheese. Need we say more?

gnocchi alla sorrentina in a dutch oven

Origin Story

Gnocchi alla Sorrentina originates from the Sorrento Peninsula in the Campania region of Southern Italy. Sorrento is known for its fresh and flavorful produce including tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella. The dish takes advantage of this local bounty by combining these humble ingredients to create this simple yet delicious dish.

While the exact origin story of Gnocchi alla Sorrentina is unclear, it is believed that the dish evolved from the traditional gnocchi recipes that have been a staple in Italy for centuries. The technique of making homemade gnocchi from potato spread throughout Italy in the 16th century after potatoes were introduced to Europe from the New World. Different regions developed their own unique variations with accompanying sauces. The addition of tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese is what gives this gnocchi dish its distinctly Sorrentine twist.

gnocchi alla sorrentina in a dutch oven and in bowls

How to make Gnocchi alla Sorrentina

To make Gnocchi alla Sorrentina, you will need potato gnocchi (homemade or store-bought both work great, but your end result will be exponentially better when you make your own), tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, and kosher salt.

  1. To begin, simply bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and preheat your oven to 400°F. You’ll cook the gnocchi for just a few minutes in the salted boiling water until they float to the surface (that’s when they’re done), then drain.
  2. Toss the cooked and drained gnocchi with tomato sauce and torn pieces of fresh mozzarella cheese. Next, add everything to an ovenproof baking dish and top with the rest of the mozzarella cheese. Bake for about 15-20 minutes at 400°F until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the sauce is heated through.
  3. Once the gnocchi is done baking, remove the dish from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before garnishing with more fresh basil leaves. Serve Gnocchi alla Sorrentina while it’s still bubbling hot!

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Gnocchi alla Sorrentina

Tyler Anastasio PrintServings: 4Prep Time: 5minsCook Time: 35minsTotal Time: 40minsDifficulty: EasySoft and tender potato gnocchi are baked in a simply perfect tomato basil sauce with bubbling mozzarella cheese, this Gnocchi alla Sorrentina is one of the best pasta dishes you’ll ever consume.

Ingredients

Tomato Basil Sauce

  • 1/4cupextra virgin olive oil
  • 3clovesgarlic, peeled
  • 128-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 1/2cupsloosely packed fresh basil leaves, divided
  • kosher salt to taste

Gnocchi alla Sorrentina

  • kosher salt
  • 216-oz. packages potato gnocchi, or one batch homemade gnocchi
  • 8ouncesfresh mozzarella cheese*

Instructions

Tomato Basil Sauce

  • Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat with extra virgin olive oil then add the whole, peeled garlic cloves. Cook for 1 minute, until lightly golden. Carefully pour in the can of San Marzano tomatoes. Break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon and simmer for five minutes before adding 1 cup of fresh basil leaves, reserving the remainder for garnish.
  • Cook for an additional five minutes after the basil has been added (10 minutes total). Salt to taste (we recommend a minimum of 1 teaspoon of kosher salt), then remove from the heat to cool. Blend using a standard or immersion blender until smooth. Set aside until ready to assemble the Gnocchi alla Sorrentina.

Gnocchi alla Sorrentina

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and liberally salt.
  • Add the gnocchi to boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes or until they float to the surface. Once finished cooking the gnocchi, drain and add to the tomato basil sauce and gently toss together in the Dutch oven promptly to prevent the gnocchi from sticking together.
  • Drain the fresh mozzarella cheese and tear into pieces if needed. Toss the majority of the torn mozzarella with the gnocchi and tomato basil sauce, reserving some for garnish.
  • Top with the reserved pieces of fresh mozzarella cheese and bake** for about 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the sauce is heated through. Remove the dish from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before garnishing with reserved basil leaves. Serve while hot.

Equipment

  • 1 standard or immersion blender
  • 1 ovenproof baking dish or skillet

Notes

*You can use torn pieces of fresh mozzarella for this recipe or ciliegine or mozzarella pearls cut in half.**If you aren’t preparing your tomato basil sauce in a Dutch oven or ovenproof dish, you’ll want to pour the gnocchi with the sauce and cheese into an ovenproof baking dish prior to baking.

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