Gnocchi alla sorrentina

This week’s Regional Italian dish comes from Campania and more precisely from Sorrento.  I am sure that all of you have heard of this beautiful coastal village, which is renowned for its world famous lemons (from which the best limoncello is made).  I would love to share with you the recipe for limoncello, but as I cannot find alcohol used to make liquors here in Australia (!), I am afraid that will have to wait.  Today’s recipe, gnocchi alla sorrentina (gnocchi “Sorrento style”), is simply mouthwatering… especially if you like cheese.  They are potato gnocchi served with a tomato and mozzarella sauce, covered with more mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano and broiled until the cheese melts and a lovely golden crust forms on the top.  See what I mean by mouthwatering?  Have a look at that stretchy cheese in the pictures below…  Like all simple dishes, the quality of ingredients is very important.  Make sure to use fresh mozzarella (the soft white one) for this and not the yellow grated kind, it will make a HUGE difference.  Enjoy!!


Recipe adapted from Mamma che buono

Ingredients (for 2 persons):

For the tomato sauce
450 ml – 15 oz. tomato purée (passata)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion (or half a medium onion)
10 basil leaves
Salt to taste


For the final dish
500 gms – 1.1 lbs potato gnocchi (half the dose of the recipe that you can find here)
160 gms – 5.5 oz. fresh mozzarella (100 gms – 3.5 oz. cubed, 60 gms – 2 oz. sliced)
65 gms – 2.3 oz. Parmigiano Reggiano
The above tomato sauce

Start by preparing the tomato sauce.  Put the extra virgin olive oil in a pot with the peeled onion (1).  Sauté it for a couple of minutes (2), then add the tomato purée, some salt and half the basil (3).  Cover it and cook for 15 to 20 minutes on a low flame, or until thickened.  When ready, remove the onion, add the cubed mozzarella to it (4) and mix it with a wooden spoon for a few minutes (5).  Make sure the mozzarella is nicely melted and there are no lumps in the sauce.  Add the rest of the basil (roughly chopped – 6) and keep it aside.

In the meantime, cook the potato gnocchi as per the instructions that you find here.  When ready, remove them with a slotted spoon and mix them well with the sauce in a pan.  Add 2 tbsp of the thinly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and mix until well combined.

Grease an oven proof dish (I used 2 individual dishes, but you can also use 1 and then divide them in plates when ready).  Pour the gnocchi in it, top with the mozzarella slices and the remaining thinly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Put the gnocchi in the oven and broil them for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese melts and becomes golden.

Gnocchi alla sorrentina

Decorate with some basil and serve hot!

Gnocchi alla sorrentina

Gnocchi alla sorrentina

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  1. says

    That looks scrumptious. I sometimes make my own gnocchi and serve it with butter, sage and parmesan. I learned it that way when I lived in Torino. I wish mozzarella here in New Zealand didn’t cost so much – it is one of my favourite foods.

  2. Eha says

    Gorgeous comfort food almost impossible to resist! Well, if I’m very good eating salads and steamed vegetables for a day or two . . . Surely I can indulge? :) !

  3. says

    Mozzarella in the sauce, mozzarella on top of gnocchi, then parmesan and the whole lot broiled? Wow! I am making these this weekend! Fabulous!

  4. Jennifer says

    Fantastic looking recipe! I love the individual servings you’ve decided to use for this one, too.

  5. says

    Sorrento is one of that places that I want to go back, but this time with my husband, just the two of us.
    The gnocchis are great, and broiling it with cheese makes my mouth to be melted…”se me hace agua la boca”…

  6. Lee Fry says

    Can I just check, is it passata you use? ‘Tomato puree’ in UK is the very thick paste in a tube. I’ve made this before with passata. Lee

  7. Paula says

    I made this for dinner tonight because it looked so good and simple to make. I added meatballs to mine and that was the best part. I wouldn’t recommend this recipe. It was more of a disappointment to me. Deffinately sticking to regular spaghetti and meatballs next time

    • says

      Hi Paula. I am sorry you did not like the recipe. I must say that based on your comment you did not make the above recipe as specified (since you added meatballs to it)… Italians do not eat meatballs with gnocchi or spaghetti for that matter, and the above recipe is a traditional recipe from Sorrento. Part of the reason I created this blog was to show people real Italian cooking. That includes using the correct ingredients eg. real mozzarella and not the shredded stuff “labelled” as mozzarella that tastes more like plastic than cheese, and using home-made potato gnocchi and not the rubbery ready made ones. So, if you want to “recommend” it or not, please make sure to follow the recipe as provided. Then, if you still don’t like it… well, I guess not everyone has the same tastes.

    • cara says

      Paula.. Real Italian food is very different that “American Italian Food” I have found this dish to be quite flavorful! Hope you used fresh Mozzarella, its the best part!~!

  8. cara says

    Oh My Yum!!! Spaghetti alla Sorrentina is on the menu at my house this week. My husband is retired from the U.S. Navy and we lived in Bella Napoli for 3 years.. visited Sorrento a few times. I cannot wait for dinner on Thursday.. thinking I may change the Spaghetti to Gnocchi! I’m off to explore your site!!!

  9. Aurhora says

    I just made this tonight. It is wonderful and flavorful! So delicious. The only thing I had a hard time with was the dough. I used Yukon Gold potatoes and I had to use much more than the indicated amount of flour. Then again I am no dough expert and this was my first time making gnocchi! It’s possible I just did something wrong on my own, haha. Thanks for the recipe! :)

    • says

      Hi! I am so happy to hear you liked them! I don’t think you did anything wrong with the dough. Unfortunately the amount of flavour needed depends on how much water the potatoes absorb, so the amount I indicated is really just a “starting point”. I sometimes need to add much more flour while other times I only need a little extra! :-) Thanks for stopping by, I really appreciate it! :-)

  10. Heather says

    Hi there! Thinking of making this for two tonight, but since there is only one egg, is it still possible to halve the recipe? If not, will it keep as (cooked) leftovers? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Heather! Sorry for the late reply but it was night here in Sydney and I just saw this. I would make all the gnocchi in one day and then cook half of them. You can keep the remaining half in the fridge and cook them the following day. You can also prepare the tomato sauce and keep it in the fridge. Gnocchi cook very quickly and when you have everything ready and only need to assemble the dish, this dish is really fast to prepare. I have never kept cooked leftovers as I never have leftovers for this! But I am afraid the gnocchi will become tougher (and so will the mozzarella after it is baked). Let me know if you try it! I hope you enjoy them! :-)

  11. José says

    Hola Manuela,

    ¿porque escribes en inglés?
    Ponlo en castellano para que lo podemos entender todos.

    • says

      Jejejeje Es que yo soy italiana y vivo en Australia…. por eso escribo en ingles. 😉 Pero arriba a la derecha (donde pones la direccion de internet) hay “Translate” y si haces click ahi, google traduce el sito en espanol. Claro, es una traduccion de google… pero se entiende bastante bien. Si tienes dudas, escribeme y te voy a ayudar. (Disculpa mi espanol que non es muy bueno, pero no lo hablo haces casi 10 anos!!).


  1. […] I saw a recipe for gnocchi alla sorrentina on one of my very favourite food blogs, Manu’s Menu, the other day and knew straight away that I had to try it. In the end, I adapted it quite a bit because I still haven’t mastered potato gnocchi, I had a few peppers in the fridge that desperately needed using and I had to pre-make everything due to my cruddy work schedule and thought baking instead of broiling could double as reheating. While I hang my head in shame as I admit that I messed with tradition, it did taste great! I’ve promised myself that I’ll make the authentic version another time – Manu’s recipe looks utterly delectable. Check it out! […]

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