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.
Decorate with some basil and serve hot!