Welcome, fellow food lovers! Today we have the honor of introducing you to a recipe that will teleport your taste buds straight to the sunny coast of Sorrento – the delectable Gnocchi alla Sorrentina.
Originating from Sorrento, a small town that clings to cliffs overlooking the southern shore of the Bay of Naples, Gnocchi alla Sorrentina is a dish that celebrates the vibrant spirit of Italian coastal cuisine.
Want to make the gnocchi yourself? Check out our guide on How to Make Homemade Gnocchi from Scratch!
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A Taste of History
Legend has it that the Gnocchi alla Sorrentina was born during the Renaissance period when the Spanish ruled over Naples and its neighboring regions. Sorrento, being a prominent maritime hub, was exposed to various culinary influences.
The dish represents the quintessence of Mediterranean flavors. It combines the local sun-ripened tomatoes with the divine meltiness of mozzarella cheese (fior di latte). The addition of fresh basil adds an aromatic note, while a sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese lends a sharp depth of flavor. These simple ingredients, when harmonized, create a symphony of flavors that is both comforting and invigorating.
The Recipe: A Love Letter to Sorrento
This hearty meal begins with the classic Italian gnocchi – soft potato dumplings that are as light as a cloud. It’s very easy to make homemade potato gnocchi and we’ll show you how to do it in our guide:
For Gnocchi alla Sorrentina, the gnocchi are then nestled in a rich tomato sauce infused with garlic and basil. But the real magic begins when generous amounts of mozzarella and Parmigiano cheese are sprinkled over the top. The dish is baked until it turns into a bubbling cauldron of cheesy goodness.
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Gnocchi alla Sorrentina Recipe | Potato Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella
- 2.2 lb fresh gnocchi Or, make homemade potato gnocchi with our guide!
- 3 cups canned tomato crushed or purée
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 clove fresh garlic
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 10 leaves fresh basil
- 1 pinch fine salt or to taste
- black pepper to taste
- ½ lb fresh mozzarella cheese "fior di latte" or water packed fresh mozzarella
- ¼ lb Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese finely grated
Prepare the Sauce
- Cover the bottom of a sauce pan with olive oil. Sauté a clove of garlic in the oil over medium heat for about a minute.1 clove fresh garlic, 6 tbsp olive oil
- Add the canned tomato and tomato paste to the pan. Season with fine salt and black pepper to taste, and add about 5 leaves of fresh basil, torn into pieces or chopped. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes.3 cups canned tomato, 1 tbsp tomato paste, 10 leaves fresh basil, 1 pinch fine salt, black pepper
Cook the Gnocchi
- Cook the gnocchi in salted boiling water until the gnocchi rise to the surface— about a minute! Remove the gnocchi as soon as they rise to the top. Then transfer them to a bowl.2.2 lb fresh gnocchi
Assemble the Gnocchi alla Sorrentina
- Cut the fresh mozzarella into strips. Tear the remaining basil leaves in half or chop them. You can bake the gnocchi in a lasagna pan or a smaller square baking pan. Divide your basil and mozzarella according to these layers.½ lb fresh mozzarella cheese
- Add a ladle of sauce to the bottom of the baking pan. Then, add a single layer of cooked gnocchi topped with another ladle of sauce. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of grated Parmigiano Reggiano, some mozzarella, and some fresh basil on top. Continue creating layers like this until you’ve used all of the gnocchi.¼ lb Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
Bake the Gnocchi
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 425°F (220°C) for 10 minutes. Or, bake until the mozzarella melts!If you like a crispy crust on top—in other words ‘au gratin’—broil the pasta uncovered for 1-2 minutes. Watch carefully to avoid burning!
- Let the gnocchi rest covered for 5 minutes, then serve!