Learn how to make the classic Italian dish, Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina, with this easy step-by-step recipe. You will love the rich flavors of potato gnocchi, tomato sauce, and melted mozzarella cheese in this authentic and comforting dish.
If there is a dish that conjures up great memories, it is pasta or gnocchi with tomato sauce and cheese on top that is baked up in the oven until golden and bubbly. Growing up, we ate this dish and many other baked Italian dishes like this (with sauce and cheese) like baked polenta or baked rigatoni.
These meals are the easier Italian meals to make so my family made them often. For this recipe, we are using store bought gnocchi because it is so simple and my best gnocchi cooking tip which I'll mention below that will keep those store bought gnocchi nice and pillowy soft!
History of Gnocchi alla Sorrentina
Gnocchi alla Sorrentina (baked gnocchi with tomato sauce and cheese) is a classic Italian dish that originates from the beautiful coastal town of Sorrento in southern Italy near the Amalfi coast. This delicious dish showcases the fresh flavors and ingredients of the region, and it is a favorite among both local Italians and tourists who come to visit. It is also a dish that Italian immigrants brought over with them to the U.S.
Ingredients you need
Gnocchi alla Sorrentina is made up of soft potato dumplings (gnocchi) covered in a rich tomato sauce flavored with fresh basil and melted mozzarella cheese on top. l.
- Potato gnocchi: I prefer using store-bought gnocchi (use the best quality you can like De Cecco) to make it easy, but you can use fresh gnocchi or ricotta gnocchi as well.
- Crushed tomatoes: You can also use Italian passata.
- Onion: This helps flavor the sauce. This is optional but I really like it.
- Garlic: The fresh garlic imparts the classic flavors of Sorrento, Italy.
- Fresh basil: Basil is the classic fresh flavor in this sauce.
- Kosher salt: To wake up the flavors of the sauce.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Try to use a good quality olive since it really adds to the flavor of the sauce.
- Mozzarella cheese: I prefer shredded mozzarella for a better crust. You can also use fresh mozzarella. To see the difference, I use fresh mozzarella in my baked rigatoni.
- Parmigiano Reggiano: The real stuff from Italy, please. The flavor cannot be beat.
How to Make Gnocchi alla Sorrentina
- Make the tomato sauce: To make this baked gnocchi with tomatoes and cheese dish at home, start by preparing the sauce. Sauté some onions and garlic in olive oil then add canned crushed tomatoes along with salt. Simmer the sauce for 10-15 minutes to allow all the flavors to come together. Now add in some torn basil leaves.
- Prepare gnocchi: You want to parboil the store-bought gnocchi in lightly salted water to lightly cook it. You do not want to fully cook the gnocchi since it will cook for a little in the oven. You can also use your own potato gnocchi or fresh gnocchi.
- Combine gnocchi with sauce: Drain the cooked gnocchi (reserving a little pasta water) and transfer to an ovenproof baking dish. Pour all of the tomato sauce over the gnocchi along with a little of the pasta water (my baked gnocchi tip!) and mix well so they are well-coated.
- Add cheese: Top with grated mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. You can also use fresh mozzarella if you prefer.
- Bake: Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F on the top rack for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly on top. The cheese will be nice and melted and gooey with a delicious golden brown crust covering the gnocchi.
- Add a little pasta water to the sauce: This helps give the gnocchi something to drink while they finish cooking in the sauce in the oven.
- Do not fully pre-cook the gnocchi: You want the gnocchi to cook a little in the tomato sauce when it is baking in the oven. This gives the gnocchi so much flavor and keeps it soft.
- Use fresh basil: Fresh basil is important when making the sauce.
- For a thick cheese crust: Use shredded mozzarella instead of fresh mozzarella.
- Jazz it up! Make it into a pizza gnocchi with some additional toppings.
If you have leftover baked gnocchi, it stores really well in the fridge for up to 3 days. Just let it come to room temperature then place in an air-tight container and place in the fridge.
What to Serve with Gnocchi alla Sorrentina
This dish pairs well with a side salad or some crusty bread to soak up all the delicious sauce. Here are some more ideas:
Sorrentina sauce is made up of tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil and sometimes onion. Fresh ingredients from the Sorrento region of Italy.
Sorrentina means something that comes from the Sorrento region of southern Italy.
How To Make Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina (Authentic Italian Recipe)
- 1 9x11 baking dish
- 28 ounces Crushed tomatoes
- 8 Fresh basil leaves torn
- ¼ cup Yellow onion finely chopped
- 4 cloves Garlic finely minced
- 2 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt plus more to taste
- 32 ounces Potato gnocchi store bought
- 8 ounces Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 4 ounces Shredded Parmesan cheese
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Make the sauce
- Add olive oil to a medium sauce pan over medium heat.2 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
- Add onion and cook until lightly golden and translucent, about 4 minutes.¼ cup Yellow onion
- Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.4 cloves Garlic
- Add tomatoes and fresh basil and stir well.28 ounces Crushed tomatoes, 8 Fresh basil leaves
- Add salt and stir.1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Place a lid on top and reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Once boiling, add a heaping pinch of salt and gnocchi and cook for 2 minutes (the gnocchi will finish cooking in the oven.)32 ounces Potato gnocchi
- Scoop out ¼ cup of pasta water then add it to the sauce.
- Drain gnocchi and add to the sauce and toss well.
- Pour the gnocchi and sauce into a 9x11 baking dish.
- Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan on top.8 ounces Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, 4 ounces Shredded Parmesan cheese
- Place in the oven on the second rack position from the top.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.
- Serve immediately.