FNCC Challenge: Mario Batali Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina

This is my hands-down favorite dish to order in restaurants here in Napoli and when we go to Sorrento.  The sauce's appearance came out a bit different from what I've gotten in Sorrento, but very close and the taste was exact!  This is a lovely dish if you love gnocchi.  I must confess to using premade gnocchi...it's so easy to get good ready made here in Naples and difficult when your equipment (such as a food mill) is packed away and on a boat on it's way to the states, making gnocchi yourself is nearly impossible.  I followed the rest of the recipe exactly, however. Join us at I Blame My Mother for more of this week's entries.

Gnocchi All Sorrentina
Adapted from a recipe by Mario Batali at foodtv.com


Gnocchi dough:

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 extra large egg
  • Pinch kosher salt


  • 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups basic tomato sauce, recipe follows
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella di bufala, cut into 1/4-inch cubes


Place the potatoes in a large pot and just cover with cold water. Boil the whole potatoes until they are soft, about 45 minutes. While still warm, peel the potatoes and pass them through a food mill onto a clean pasta board.
Make a well in the center of the potatoes and sprinkle with the flour. Place the egg and salt in the center of the well and, using a fork, stir the egg into the flour and potatoes. Bring the dough together, kneading gently until a ball is formed, and continue to knead for another 4 minutes, until the dough is dry to the touch. Cut a tennis-ball sized hunk of dough off the main ball and roll it into a dowel about 3/4-inch thick. Cut across the dowel to form pellets about 1 inch long. Flick each pellet down the tines of a fork to form the traditional gnocchi shape. Repeat with the remaining dough.
In a 14 to 16-inch frying pan, combine the pepper flakes, tomato sauce, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer 15 minutes, or until the sauce is as thick as good porridge. (At this point the sauce could be refrigerated for up to 2 days).
When you are ready to serve the gnocchi, bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt.
Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water and cook until floating aggressively, 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully transfer the gnocchi to the pan with the sauce, using a slotted spoon. Turn the heat to medium and toss gently for about 30 seconds. Tear the basil leaves into a few pieces and add to the sauce along with the mozzarella cubes. Toss together for 30 seconds longer. Pour into a heated bowl and serve immediately.

Basic tomato sauce:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, chopped in 1/4-inch dice
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
1/2 medium carrot, finely shredded
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.
Yield: 4 cups


Susie said...

That looks sooooooo good!!

Sarah said...

I just wrote this recipe down. I have a package of gnocchi that needs to be used. I've never made it from scratch and I don't know any differently. Once I have had the real thing I might feel differently :) Can't wait to try this. I'm going to use his tomatoe sauce recipe and make a huge batch to freeze. Thanks for cooking with FNCCC!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Yum, I love gnocchi!
I always find I need a lot more flour than the recipe says when I make it from scratch. I haven't tried the pre-made ones, good to know they are good. Maybe I should have some on hand.
Looks tasty!

Candi said...

I've always wanted to try gnocchi! What a great recipe!

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