Home made potato gnocchi made from scratch are the best! They are so much better than chewy store-bought ones. I’ve only posted about potato gnocchi once before: gnocchi with gorgonzola was the first recipe I ever posted on this blog. The city of Sorrento is near the island of Capri, the island that gave its name to the famous Insalata Caprese with tomato, mozzarella, and basil. You can think fo Gnocchi alla Sorrentina as the gnocchi version of this salad, because the gnocchi are dressed with fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil, and parmigiano reggiano. This combination is always a winner, and it is even more so with feathery light homemade potato gnocchi.
I prefer to cook the potatoes for the gnocchi sous-vide, but you can also bake them in the oven. The secret to tender gnocchi is to use as little flour as possible. The flour is needed to help keep the gnocchi together, but the gluten in the flour makes the gnocchi chewy if you use too much. Try to use just a bit of flour. If you are unsure if you used enough, just try to cook a single gnocco in gently boiling water. If it falls apart, add more flour to your dough. If it stays together, you’re all set. The less moisture there is in the cooked potatoes, the less flour you need to use. That is why baking or cooking sous-vide is better than boiling in water, and why floury potatoes are better than waxy potatoes.
Making your own gnocchi is really not that hard at all. Here’s how to make your own lovely gnocchi alla sorrentina.
For 2 servings
400 grams floury potatoes
100 grams flour
125 grams good mozzarella, preferably buffalo
750 grams ripe plum tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
Otherwise, pierce the potatoes with a fork and bake them for 1 hour at 180C/350F. Remove the skin after baking them.
Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. I saw an interesting new way to make a fresh tomato sauce on GialloZafferano. You don’t have to remove the skins for this one, but do remove the seeds and the green part. Put the tomatoes into a saucepan.
Cut the dough snake into gnocchi of about 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) or so. Officially you should use a fork to create grooves that will hold the sauce, but that really isn’t necessary. (Don’t tell any Italians I said that though, as they may not allow me back into the country next time I’m visiting.)
Cut the mozzarella into pieces about the size of the gnocchi. Mix the cooked gnocchi with the tomato sauce, basil, and mozzarella. Arrange the gnocchi on individual oven proof dishes or plates. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano.
The fresh tomato sauce pairs well with a nice dry rosé.