Baked gnocchi parmigiana
- 1 h 55 min
- Kcal 1152
One of the dishes from the Campania region that’s most famous both in Italy and abroad is gnocchi alla sorrentina, Sorrento-style gnocchi in tomato and mozzarella sauce – a dish that’s made in restaurants all over the world! What makes this gnocchi dish so well loved is its simplicity: Mediterranean flavors and authenticity combined with easy preparation. Making the gnocchi by hand will remind you of Sundays spent at Grandma’s house figuring out all the secrets behind the perfect consistency of those little potato gnocchi. The gnocchi alla sorrentina are then enveloped in a creamy tomato and basil sauce, jazzed up with mozzarella and grated cheese... Just the ingredients that make gnocchi even nicer by creating a stringy cheese effect after being heated for a short time in the oven. To put a different twist on this dish, try making zucchini gnocchi instead of the classic dough with potatoes. Has your mouth started watering? Come and make some gnocchi alla sorrentina with us!
To make the gnocchi alla sorrentina, start with the potatoes to make the gnocchi: Wash them under running water to remove any dirt, then place in a large pot, add water 1, and cook for around 30-40 minutes (the time may vary according to the size, so test using the prongs of a fork to see how done they are; if you’d like to reduce the cooking time, you can use a pressure cooker). Next, turn to the sauce: Add a drizzle of oil to a pot along with a whole clove of garlic, crushed, and the tomato puree 2; season with salt and pepper 3.
Allow the flavors to develop with the basil leaves, then cover with a lid 4 and leave to cook for around 30 minutes over medium/low heat. Drain the potatoes well once they’re ready. Sift flour onto a pastry board and create a well 5. Using a potato ricer 6, press the still-warm potatoes out into the well in the flour, or peel and mash the potatoes and place in the well.
Add the egg 7 and salt 8 to the potatoes, then start to knead 9: Do this fairly quickly,
for just as long as it takes to compact the ingredients 10 and give the dough a uniform and soft (not sticky but not too firm, either) consistency 11. Cover with a clean, dry dishcloth. Bring water to cook the gnocchi to a boil in a large pot, salting the water once boiling. Meanwhile, take one portion of the dough at a time 12, keeping the rest covered,
and roll into a cylinder around ¾ inch to 1 inch (2-3 cm) thick 13. Sprinkle with some semolina and cut the gnocchi from the cylinders using a dough cutter 14. To give them the classic ridges, you can use a gnocchi board 15 or the prongs of a fork.
As you make them, you can put the gnocchi on a tray covered with a clean dishcloth dusted lightly with semolina 16. Once the gnocchi are ready, remove the garlic from the sauce 17 and pour nearly all of the sauce into a very large bowl 18; the remaining sauce will be used at the bottom of the baking dish later on.
Boil the gnocchi in the pot in at least 2/3 batches 19; be sure that the water in the pot is simmering gently and not boiling vigorously to avoid damaging the gnocchi. They’ll only need to cook for a few minutes, and as soon as they’ve risen to the surface, drain using a skimmer and, little by little, add them to the bowl where you put the sauce 20. Stir gently with a spoon 21.
Pour the remaining sauce into a baking dish, drizzle over some oil 22, and then pour in the gnocchi (23-24).
Cover with a layer of diced mozzarella 25 and a sprinkling of Parmigiano 26. Then add another layer of gnocchi 27,
the remaining mozzarella and Parmigiano (28-29). Cook your gnocchi alla sorrentina in broil mode in a conventional oven preheated to 480°F (250°C), for 5 minutes. Serve the dish piping hot 30!
You can keep the gnocchi alla sorrentina in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one day, covered with plastic wrap.
The gnocchi can be frozen raw and won’t need to be defrosted before cooking. They can be frozen cooked and in the sauce if fresh ingredients have been used, although in this case the dish will need to be defrosted and reheated in the oven before serving.
You can also make gnocchi alla sorrentina using very ripe, juicy fresh tomatoes; maybe choose on-the-vine tomatoes (or sauce tomatoes, in any case), cook them for a few minutes in a pot, and then grind the pulp in a food mill.
To get the ideal consistency for the gnocchi, use red potatoes as indicated and work the dough while they’re still hot and not for too long.