Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina (eggless)
One of the best known dishes from the region Campania are gnocchi alla sorrentina. They take their name from the small coastal town of Sorrento and what makes them so special is their simplicity: Mediterranean flavours and simple ingredients for a super easy preparation.
I like to make gnocchi myself as I find homemade gnocchi are way lighter than store bought, if you follow a few easy tricks. Check out my video tutorial on my IGTV (saved in my Highlights as well). I like my gnocchi eggless.
For the gnocchi:
Ingredients (for 4)
1 kg potatoes
300 g flour (preferably 00)
1 tsp salt
Steam or boil the potatoes, keeping in mind that with steaming they'll absorb less moisture and thus require less flour for the kneading. I boiled mine in this case.
Allow them to cook enough to handle without completely burning your fingers, but not completely. Remove the skins and mash with a fork or, better, with a potato masher until you obtain a homogeneous mash with no lumps. Do this as quickly as you can to prevent the potatoes from cooling off completely.
As you are mashing the potatoes, add the salt, instant potato mash (if using), then start adding the flour one spoon at a time and start kneading.
Knead energetically and quickly with both your hands to form a smooth and very soft ball. It should hold together without crumbling. Dust a little flour on it and cover with a kitchen towel.
Tear a golfball-sized piece of dough and cover the rest. Roll this piece of dough on a floured surface to form a long tubular shape about 2cm thick. Cut the dough into equal sized gnocchi and place on a floured surface.
You can now cook them straight away or, using either a ridged gnocchi board, or the back of a fork, roll each gnocchi over it to impart the typical striped texture.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and plunge your gnocchi in it. They'll only take 1-2 minutes to cook and you'll know they are ready once they come up floating.
For the sauce:
600 ml tomato passata (or pureed tomatoes)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp salt
A few basil leaves
250 g mozzarella
4 tbsp grated cheese (I use sicilian pecorino but you can also use parmigiano)
Heat the oil in a pan and add the garlic. Let it brown, then add the tomato passata and season with salt. Stir in the basil, cover with a lid and cook on medium low for about 30 minutes or until the oil separates.
Cook the gnocchi in plenty salted water for just about a minute. Remove with a slotted spoon as they come floating on top and transfer to a large bowl. Mix in the tomato sauce and grated cheese.
Divide the gnocchi into 4 individual small terracotta plates, top with the mozzarella and bake in a preheated oven on grill mode at the highest temperature for just about 5 minutes until the mozzarella has browned and melted. You can serve the individual portions in the terracotta plates directly.
Alternatively you can place all the gnocchi in one large baking tray, top with mozzarella and follow the same steps. Then plate as normal.
Word of the Day
(Basil, pronounced ba·ṣì·li·co)