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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Gnocchi alla Sorrentina Recipe & Contest

Just as Margherita pizza is symbolic of Naples, gnocchi alla Sorrentina is emblematic of Sorrento. Like the Margherita, it features the colors of the Italian flag thanks to tomato, mozzarella and basil.That trinity seems like the most classic of Italian ingredients, but is it? Basil is not native to the Mediterranean, it came to Italy from India via the spice routes.  Tomatoes came from the New World and didn't make their way to Italy until the 15th or 16th century, the same for potatoes, which are a key ingredient in gnocchi in many regions. I've read that potatoes were used because at one time the price of wheat was very high but I don't know if that's actually true or not. 

My recipe for gnocchi alla Sorrentina is incredibly simple, but like all Italian recipes, it relies on excellent quality ingredients. There are lots of recipes out there for gnocchi alla Sorrentina. While they all have potato gnocchi topped with a sauce made from tomatoes along with basil, Parmigiano Reggiano and mozzarella, they sauce recipes vary. Some sauce recipes use soffritto, a combination of carrots, celery and onion. Other recipes use onion. Some use tomato paste. But if you use Pomodoro San Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino DOP tomatoes all you need is olive oil and garlic. 

The reason you should use Pomodoro San Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino DOP tomatoes is twofold, the consistency of the product the taste. It's just ideal for making a quick and brightly flavored tomato sauce. You can make the gnocchi by hand or buy a brand you like, but the sauce must be made from scratch, the basil must be fragrant and the mozzarella must be soft and fresh. I have used other tomatoes in the past and had to rely on tomato paste to boost the flavor of tomato sauces, but not anymore. Grown and picked exclusively for the can in the volcanic-rich soil of Mt. Vesuvius. They have a special red and yellow PDO label issued by the European Union that ensures they are the real deal. 

Now that we are finally getting out of the house, I'm pleased to share a chance to win dinner courtesy of  #ILoveSanMarzanoDOP at a local restaurant valued at $250. Simply enter  I ❤ San Marzano DOP contest for a chance to win! Good luck or as we say in Italian, in bocca al lupo! 

Gnocchi alla Sorrentina 
Serves 4 as a starter of 2 as an entree

1 pound potato gnocchi, cooked
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 28 ounce can San Marzano DOP tomatoes
Two sprigs fresh basil
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
6 ounces fresh mozzarella (not low moisture) diced


Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat a saucepan and add oil. When the oil is warm, add the garlic and cook it over medium heat until it begins to turn golden, then turn the heat off. Using your hands, squish the tomatoes into a pulp and add them along with the puree in the can to the saucepan. Turn the heat back on and cook the mixture for 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until it's the sauce is very thick. Add one sprig of basil, and turn off the heat. 

Combine the sauce and the gnocchi, and transfer to a casserole. Sprinkle with half of the Parmigiano Reggiano and all of the mozzarella. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese melts. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano Reggiano and garnish with the second sprig of basil. 


Rules: You must be 18 + years old and live in the United States to win. Contest deadline is 11:59pm June 18, 2021.  21 Winners will be randomly selected and notified by phone.