Gnocchi alla Sorrentina is classic Italian comfort food, with gnocchi, fresh mozzarella cheese, basil and Parmesan, baked into bubbly goodness.
You’ll also love that this gnocchi recipe is ready to enjoy in just about 30 minutes!
Ingredients and Substitutions
Gnocchi – I generally opt for frozen gnocchi. Many grocery stores or Italian grocers will have it in the frozen pasta section. Fresh gnocchi in the refrigerator section would be the a good option, as well. Shelf-stable gnocchi, found in with the dry pasta, would also work. And of course, if you like, you can make your own gnocchi to use here.
Fresh Mozzarella – The cheese that goes in with the gnocchi and tomato sauce should traditionally be a soft, fresh-type mozzarella. You’ll often find this in containers, stored in water. Mozzarella Fresca, Buffalo mozzarella or Bocconcini will also work.
Tomatoes – Jarred passata (strained tomatoes) or jarred Sugo sauce works best. You could use crushed tomatoes, though they will need less simmering, as they are thicker to begin with.
Cheese Topping – I love to pair the soft mozzarella with a topping of another type cheese. If I can get my hands on some, I love a slice of scamorza cheese. Provolone or regular (not fresh) mozzarella works just fine, as well. Top it all off with some freshly grated Parmesan.
- Start the sauce by sauteeing the garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil, then add the jarred tomatoes.
- Add fresh or dried basil.
- Add salt, then simmer 20-30 minutes to reduce.
- Boil water, salt and add gnocchi. It will only take a few minutes and they are done when the gnocchi float to the top.
- Sauce after it has reduced.
- Add a coating of tomato sauce and a drizzle of olive oil to the bottom of your cooking dish (or dishes).
- Add cooked gnocchi to the skillet with the remaining tomato sauce and stir to combine.
- Spoon some of the gnocchi mixture into baking dishes.
- Add some Parmesan and some fresh mozzarella cubes.
- Add the remaining gnocchi mixture and remaining fresh mozzarella cubes.
- Top with a slice of Scamorza (or Provolone or Mozzarella) and remaining Parmesan.
- After baking, sprinkle with some fresh or dried basil.
Make it Faster!
In a hurry? Substitute a tomato basil or marinara pasta sauce and you can skip the skillet simmering part altogether! Simply pour the sauce over the cooked gnocchi straight from the jar. This will get you eating about 15 minutes earlier!
Get the Recipe: Gnocchi alla Sorrentina
- 454 g gnocchi, fresh, frozen or shelf-stable (1 lb.)
- 190 g fresh mozzarella, or Buffalo mozzarella (6-7 oz.)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 600-680 ml Passata or Sugo tomato sauce, strained tomatoes (20-24 fl. oz).
- 1/4 cup Fresh basil, chopped, or about 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 80 g Parmesan cheese, grated (3 oz. or about 3/4 cup)
- 3 slices Scamorza, Provolone or Mozzarella cheese, sliced, for topping
- Start a large pot of water to boil for the gnocchi.
- Heat a splash of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan and saute briefly. Add the passata and chopped (or dried) basil. Add the salt and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer sauce until thickened and reduced, about 20 minutes. Taste the sauce and add additional salt, if needed.
- Meanwhile, cut the fresh mozzarella into bite-sized cubes. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Set aside.
- When sauce is ready, add some salt to the pot of boiling water. Add gnocchi and cook per package instructions. Gnocchi are generally done when they float to the top, which takes only a few minutes generally.
- Spoon some of the tomato sauce onto the bottom of one large or several small oven-safe dishes, adding just enough tomato sauce to coat the bottom of the pan. Drizzle in a little olive oil. Set aside for a moment.
- When gnocchi is cooked, use a slotted spoon or spider strainer to transfer the gnocchi to the skillet with the remaining tomato sauce and stir to combine. Place about half of the gnocchi mixture into the dish(es). Scatter half of the mozzarella cubes into the dish(es) and top with half of the Parmesan. Add the remaining gnocchi mixture to the dish(es) and scatter the remaining mozzarella cubes on top. Place a round (or a couple of rounds for a large dish) of mozzarella in the centre and scatter the remaining Parmesan over-top. Season with a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Heat broiler in oven. Slide baking dish(es) under the broiler and cook until golden and bubbly. Remove from oven. Top with a bit of dried basil, for garnish.