This Gnocchi alla Sorrentina recipe is packed with Italian flavors and is so easy to make! Serve for a quick dinner any day of the week. Because, what is more heartwarming than a plate of homemade, fresh gnocchi tossed in tomato sauce and topped with melted stringy mozzarella cheese and basil?
Gnocchi alla Sorrentina is a traditional Italian dish that consists of soft potato gnocchi tossed with fresh tomato sauce and mozzarella. Sometimes is also baked to allow the cheese on top to become melty and bubbly.
This dish is considered a primo piatto just like any pasta recipe, and it originates from Sorrento, a beautiful town in the Campania region, which is located near Naples.
I like how easy is to make, either using homemade gnocchi or store-bought. It makes a fulfilling, delicious, and authentic Italian dish to enjoy any day of the week.
- Gnocchi: You can use store-bought gnocchi or make your own, any type is good. If you want to make your own, try our recipe for whole wheat and potato gnocchi.
- Mozzarella: The traditional recipe calls for fresh mozzarella, the one that comes packed in whey. Fior di latte or mozzarella di bufala are both perfect.
- Fresh tomatoes: I like to use some fresh tomatoes to add some texture, but you can also omit them and use only tomato passata.
- Tomato passata: Passata has a smoother texture, but you can swap it for regular tomato sauce.
- Basil: Fresh basil is what you need, this fresh herb adds a particular aroma to this dish. Skip the dried stuff as it won’t taste the same.
- Oil: Use the best extra virgin olive oil if you can.
- Seasonings: Salt, pepper, and garlic.
How To Make Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina
Place a large pot filled with water over medium-high heat and preheat your oven broil.
Heat the olive oil in an oven-proof pan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant.
Add cherry tomatoes and sauté for about 5 minutes, using the back of the spoon, crush them a bit so they burst open and release their juices.
Add tomato passata and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add basil leaves tearing them with your hands and mix everything.
Set heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes stirring from time to time until the sauce thickens. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Cook gnocchi as instructed in the package.
Once the gnocchi are cooked, remove them from the hot water with a slotted spoon and add them to the pan.
Toss for 1 minute or until gnocchi are nicely coated with the tomato and basil sauce.
Add 2/3 of mozzarella cheese and mix gently to combine. Top with the remaining mozzarella, and a few basil leaves.
Place the pan under the broil until the mozzarella on top is bubbly and lightly golden.
You gnocchi alla sorrentina are ready! Serve with a glass of white wine and enjoy!
Recipe Notes & Tips
- The key to this unique, comforting, and mouthwatering gnocchi dish is the use of simple, yet high-quality ingredients.
- Fresh mozzarella cheese releases a bit of whey when cooked, if you don’t like this, grate it about 20 minutes before making this recipe and place it to drain on a colander.
- Place the water to boil as the first thing to do in this recipe, so you can cook gnocchi while you prepare the tomato sauce.
- Make sure the broil is hot before you place the pan inside, so the mozzarella melts quickly and your gnocchi won’t overcook.
- If you want to make a large batch to feed a crowd, make the sauce, cook the gnocchi, and combine everything on a large baking pan. Then place under the broil as instructed on the recipe.
What to Serve With Gnocchi alla Sorrentina
In Italy, Gnocchi alla Sorrentina is considered a primo piatto (first course), which means they’re usually served on their own before the main dish, and not as a side.
So, living in Italy is easy for me to not only make this dish but also to serve it as tradition calls. Here are my family’s favorite dishes for serving these gnocchi:
However, your house, your rules :) Eat this dish in any way you want. As a side or on its own, the important thing is that you enjoy its truly authentic flavors!
How To Make Ahead
Even though this gnocchi alla Sorrentina recipe is super easy to make, it also makes an amazing prep dish for those busy days.
There are various ways to prep this dish, here are my two favorites:
- Cook the sauce and gnocchi, combine without the mozzarella, place in small oven-proof containers, and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days. When ready to eat, stir in mozzarella and bake.
- Cook the sauce and store (fridge for 3-4 days, freezer for 2-3 months). Thaw sauce, cook gnocchi, combine everything along with mozzarella, and bake.
How To Store Leftovers
You can store Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina leftovers in an air-tight container for up to 2-3 days in the fridge. Make sure you allow the dish to reach room temperature before refrigerating it.
Furthermore, you can also freeze the dish for up to 2 months. All you have to do is place it in an air-tight container or a resealable bag and store it in the freezer.
When you are ready to eat, thaw gnocchi and reheat in the oven at 375°F/190°C for 5-8 minutes.
More Italian Recipes
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Gnocchi alla Sorrentina
- 1 ½ pounds potato gnocchi (homemade or store-bought)
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes
- 1 ⅓ cup tomato passata
- 2 cups fresh mozzarella cheese (shredded or cut into small cubes)
- 1 garlic clove (minced)
- a bunch fresh basil leaves
- 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Place a large pot filled with water and a good pinch of salt over medium-high heat. Preheat the broil in your oven.
- Heat the olive oil in an oven-proof pan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant.
- Add cherry tomatoes and sauté for about 5 minutes, using the back of the spoon, crush a bit the tomatoes so they burst open.
- Add tomato passata and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add basil leaves tearing them with your hands and mix well.
- Set heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes stirring from time to time until the sauce thickens a bit.
- Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi as indicated in the package.
- Once the gnocchi are cooked, strain them and then add them to the pan with the tomato sauce. Toss to coat well.
- Add ⅔ of mozzarella cheese and gently mix.
- Top with the remaining mozzarella, and add a few basil leaves.
- Place the pan under the broil until the mozzarella on top is bubbly and lightly golden.
- If you use fresh mozzarella, cut it into small bites and place it to drain on a colander for 20-30 minutes before you make the recipe.
- Make sure the broil is ready on high heat so the mozzarella melts quickly and your gnocchi won’t overcook.
- If you want to make a large batch of gnocchi alla Sorrentina, you can make the sauce in a large saucepan and then toss everything in a baking dish and bake.
Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.