By Ippolita Douglas Scotti:
Today, I’m making gnocchi from scratch from a wonderful traditional Italian recipe:
Gnocchi alla Sorrentina!
Gnocchi alla Sorrentina is an incredible comfort-food dish made with soft and light potato gnocchi baked in a rich and delicious tomato sauce with bubbling mozzarella cheese and fresh basil—simply delicious!
The medieval word gnocco (singular of gnocchi) comes from the ancient Germanic knöchel and defines any dough with a rounded shape. The gnocchi of olden times were made with bread, flour, or semolina. Only during the 18th century were they made with the familiar potatoes and flour.
Homemade Potato Gnocchi:
4 medium russet potatoes
1 tsp salt, plus more for the water
1 tsp pepper
2 Tbl butter
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
In a large pot of cool salted water, add the potatoes and bring the water to a boil. Cook for apprx. 20–25 minutes until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.
Drain the potatoes and set aside until cool enough to handle but still warm.
Once cool, remove the skin from the potatoes and mash them in a bowl until all lumps are gone. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
Make a well in the center of the potatoes and crack an egg into it. Whisk the eggs briefly. Then, using your hands, gently mix it into the potatoes until evenly distributed.
On a clean surface, put 1 cup of flour and turn out the dough onto it. Knead the dough, adding only as much flour as needed until the dough loses its stickiness. It should feel more solid.
Divide the dough into 4 parts. Roll out 1 dough section into a long rope, about 1 inch wide. Slice the rope into ½-inch squares and set aside on a lightly floured surface. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Place a fork on your work surface and slide each gnocchi square from the base of the fork prongs to the top while squeezing lightly. You can also use a gnocchi roller if you have one!
Sprinkle with a bit of flour and toss so that they don’t stick together.
Here's a video on how to shape the gnocchi!
Now you are ready for Gnocchi alla Sorrentina!
Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina
1 lb (500 g) potato gnocchi
14 oz (400 g) cherry tomatoes, crushed
1 clove of fresh garlic
A handful of fresh basil
8 oz (225 g) fresh mozzarella, roughly chopped
2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
To make the sauce, sauté the garlic in a little olive oil in a large skillet.
Add the fresh cherry tomatoes with a good pinch of salt and simmer the sauce for 10 minutes, breaking up the tomatoes enough so that they burst open.
Once simmered, add some mozzarella and basil and stir to combine. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the gnocchi until they float to the surface. Remove the gnocchi with a skimmer and add to the tomato sauce, toss to coat.
Then transfer the gnocchi to an oven-proof baking dish. Top the gnocchi with more mozzarella and grated Parmesan and bake for 20 minutes until the mozzarella cheese is melted, bubbling, and golden. Delicious!
Contessa Ippolita Douglas Scotti di Vigileno is a true Italian—born in Florence, Italy, from a long line of eccentric Italian aristocrats, she has traveled the world in search of adventure, romance, and magical, mouth-watering recipes. "Ippo" loves Italian history, especially as it relates to food. Author of There's a Beatle in My Soup, Curcuma e Zenzero (Ginger & Tumeric), 101 Perche Sulla Storia di Firenze (101 questions on Florence History), The Grimore, The Magic of the Moon, and Magic Herbs (all published by Newton Compton Publishers).