This gnocchi alla sorrentina recipe is inspired by the famous Italian cheesy bake. It’s made with just 8 ingredients, which combine to form the most comforting & delicious recipe.
The dish originates from Sorrento, which is a coastal town in Southern Italy. The Sorrentina variations include pasta alla sorrentina, chicken alla sorrentina and many more. I decided to develop this variation with gnocchi, as it’s the most popular and also I love this way of cooking gnocchi with some element of baking.
Being a gnocchi bake, the rich and saucy tomato gnocchi is taken to the next level with the melted, crispy mozzarella topping which is my favourite component of this recipe.
This recipe is perfect for a dinner party, to serve to housemates or family.
I love the addition of cherry tomatoes here for a burst of sweetness, added nutrients & texture.
This garlic wouldn’t be authentic without a healthy serving of garlic
I find plum tomatoes more flavoursome than chopped tomatoes. Passata I also find to be overpowering with simple flavours, so that’s why I’ve gone for the plum tomato blend.
We have slightly cheated here by using ready-made packed gnocchi. It’s so cheap and cooks so quickly, with the effort and flavours we’re creating elsewhere, you won’t be noticing that the gnocchi isn’t homemade/made fresh.
If you want to try and make the gnocchi from scratch, try my sweet potato gnocchi – recipe linked here.
I’ve opted for low-fat mozzarella here to reduce the calories slightly, but you can, of course, use full fat. To prevent any sogginess from the mozzarella, tear the mozzarella and remove the excess moisture by patting with a paper towel. You could also buy low-moisture mozzarella, but that’s usually more expensive.
* Make sure you remove any excess moisture from the mozzarella, by patting with a paper towel and squeezing the excess moisture out. This will prevent sogginess as the mozzarella retains a lot of water.
In an oven proof deep frying pan add the oil, along with the halved cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and fry on a medium/low heat for 5 minutes.
Then add the minced garlic, red pepper flakes and sliced basil stems. Continue to fry for a couple of minutes on a low heat and add a drizzle of red wine vinegar.
After blending the plum tomatoes until smooth, transfer them into the frying pan along with the gnocchi and stock. Cook on low simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After 10 minutes, the sauce should have reduced and the gnocchi should be mostly cooked. Top with the torn mozzarella and pop under the grill for 5-10 minutes. The cheese will melt and start to turn golden brown. Serve with fresh basil and a portion of broccoli/cauliflower mix. Season with salt & pepper.
As the recipe itself hasn’t got any veggies in it, I’ve paired the gnocchi bake with broccoli & cauliflower for some added fibre and nutrients. A green side salad would also work really well, with a lemony dressing to add some brightness.
If you want a slightly less healthy/weekend treat, you can pair the recipe with some garlic bread.
What is gnocchi?
Gnocchi is a type of Italian dumpling, usually made with potato & flour or semolina.
It is not a type of pasta, although many sauces which are served with pasta are often used interchangeably with gnocchi.
Can I make this ahead of time?
You prepare the sauce & gnocchi (steps 1- 3) ahead of time & then add to your oven dish to bake with the mozzarella when it’s time to eat.
Can I freeze this recipe?
Similarly to the last question, it would be best to freeze the recipe after step 3/ before baking the gnocchi with the cheese. If you don’t mind not having the crispy mozzarella layer then you could definitely bake and add to freezable containers.
How do I reheat this recipe?
You can either add a serving into a bowl and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes or you could add a portion to an oven proof dish, scatter with mozzarella (if you didn’t bake it beforehand) and heat under the grill for 10 minutes, or until the cheese starts to bubble & turn golden brown.