Gnocchi alla sorrentina is an Italian comfort food recipe of baked gnocchi in a tomato basil sauce, melty fresh mozzarella, and parmesan cheese.
We’ll show you how to make the most delicious gnocchi recipe with a few simple good-quality ingredients.
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Gnocchi alla Sorrentina means Sorrento style gnocchi in Italian. Sorrento is a city in the Campania region, not far from Naples.
The region is famous for its beautiful coastal landscape and, of course, its delicious food, including the world-famous pizza Margherita.
And like a good pizza, gnocchi alla sorrentina are seasoned with the same simple but high-quality ingredients.
Tomato sauce made with tasty sun-ripen tomatoes, a fresh “fiordilatte” mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, fresh basil, and good quality extra virgin olive oil.
Homemade gnocchi is what we would recommend for making the best gnocchi alla sorrentina recipe. However, if you don’t have the time to follow our easy homemade gnocchi recipe, opt for the best store-bought gnocchi you can find.
Once you’ve got your gnocchi, making the recipe is quick and easy, and you can have it as a weeknight dinner or for a special weekend meal with family and friends.
Ps. To make the recipe vegan, you can replace mozzarella and parmesan cheese with dairy-free alternatives. Brands we like and trust (not sponsored) are Simply-V and VioLife; yes, they melt!
A good quality tomato passata, or tomato puree, will allow you to make a tasty tomato sauce in less than 30 minutes.
We recommend imported passata from Italy; several brands are available in most supermarkets.
Alternatively, you can use whole canned peeled San Marzano tomatoes crushed with a fork.
Sorrentina sauce is not too garlicky, and the garlic cloves are crushed and not minced into the sauce. Crushed garlic releases a mellow and mild garlic flavor that does not overpower the other ingredients.
If you can, choose good quality extra virgin olive oil. Good quality oil will make the difference here.
Sea salt or kosher salt. Black pepper is not necessary.
Fresh basil leaves are added to the tomato sauce and release their distinctive flavor.
When it comes to mozzarella cheese, the freshest, the better. Ideally, you’d use a whole “fiordilatte” that you can get in most Italian stores and cut into fresh mozzarella cubes with a knife.
Pre-grated, low moisture stuff is not a thing in Italian cooking, so avoid it if you can.
If that’s all you’ve got, then go ahead, it’ll melt and still be tasty, but you’ll miss that mild, milky flavor you’d know from a good Neapolitan pizza.
To make it vegan, you can replace mozzarella with a dairy-free alternative or a dairy-free shredded cheese. Good quality brands like Simply-V or VioLife (not sponsored) make mozzarella-inspired products that melt.
The best option is to get a piece of Parmiggiano Reggiano or Grana Padano and grate it at home. Alternatively, you can get a pre-grated parmesan cheese.
To make it vegan, substitute a vegan parmesan alternative for parmesan.
You can use homemade gnocchi or store-bought gnocchi. But, of course, homemade gnocchi will produce a better gnocchi alla sorrentina recipe.
Check out our homemade potato gnocchi recipe to learn how to make them. You’ll only need russet or red potatoes, all-purpose flour, and salt. We make the dough without egg, and you won’t need fancy equipment, just a fork or potato ricer.
The ones you see in the pictures are our pillow-shaped potato gnocchi.
Check out our homemade potato gnocchi recipe if you’d like to make the gnocchi from scratch.
Make the sauce
To a large skillet, add the olive oil, garlic, tomato sauce, and salt. Simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the basil leaves, stir them in, and turn the heat off. Taste it, and adjust for salt.
Preheat the oven to 400°F or 200°C. Spread two tablespoons of tomato sauce on the baking dish you’ll use to bake the gnocchi.
Cook the gnocchi
Cook the gnocchi in a large pot with plenty of boiling salted water in two or three batches without overcrowding the pot.
When the gnocchi float to the surface, they are ready. Homemade gnocchi take 1 minute. Frozen gnocchi a couple of minutes.
Scoop them out of the water with a slotted spoon and add them to the pan with the sauce.
Toss gnocchi in the sauce until fully coated. Keep the heat off.
Build the dish
Arrange half of the gnocchi onto the baking dish. Add a little less than half of the cubed mozzarella, and sprinkle with grated parmesan.
Add the remaining gnocchi on top of the first layer. Next, add cubed mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until the mozzarella and the parmesan cheese melt.
Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and some fresh basil leaves, and serve you gnocchi alla sorrentina right out of the oven.
Gnocchi alla sorrentina is a nutritious and fulfilling main dish. We recommend serving it with a side of veggies. Try our:
You can make the potato gnocchi ahead of time and freeze them for up to 6 months. Learn more in our gnocchi blog post on how to store homemade gnocchi.
You can also assemble the gnocchi alla sorrentina in the baking dish and freeze it before baking it.
Then let it thaw for about two hours in the fridge before baking it in a preheated oven at 350°F or 180°C for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese melts.
Keep leftovers in the fridge for up to 24 hours, covered with plastic wrap, or in an airtight container. Add two tablespoons of water, stir, and warm up in a preheated oven at 400°F or 200°C for 10 minutes. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve.
We don’t recommend freezing gnocchi alla sorrentina once they are baked.
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Gnocchi alla Sorrentina
- 2 pounds homemade gnocchi or store-bought
- 2⅔ cups tomato puree (passata) about 1 glass bottle
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 10 leaves basil
- ½ pound mozzarella cheese or dairy-free alternative
- ¾ cup parmesan cheese grated, or dairy-free alternative
- If you make homemade gnocchi, then start with that (link to recipe in ingredients list). While the potatoes cook, you can make the tomato sauce.
MAKE TOMATO SAUCE
- To a large skillet, add the olive oil, garlic, tomato sauce, and salt. Simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the basil leaves, stir them in, and turn the heat off. Taste it, and adjust for salt.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F or 200°C. Spread two tablespoons of tomato sauce on the baking dish you'll use to bake the gnocchi.
- Cook the gnocchi in a large pot with plenty of boiling salted water. Cook in two or three batches without overcrowding the pot.When the gnocchi float to the surface, they are ready. Homemade gnocchi take 1 minute. Frozen gnocchi a couple of minutes.
- Scoop them out of the water with a slotted spoon and add them to the pan with the sauce.
- Toss gnocchi in the sauce until fully coated. Keep the heat off.
- Arrange half of the gnocchi onto the baking dish. Add a little less than half of the cubed mozzarella, and sprinkle with grated parmesan.
- Add the remaining gnocchi on top of the first layer. Next, add cubed mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until the mozzarella and the parmesan cheese melt.Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and some fresh basil leaves, and serve.