I first was introduced to gnocchi – the world’s greatest comfort food – at the age of 10, when on holiday with my parents and brother in Italy. Note that this was back in the gluten days, and so I had a whole 14 years to fall madly in love with this dish before finding out that most gnocchi is in fact not gluten free. While I wasn’t the pickiest of eaters growing up, my mother still had to coax me into trying a bite from her bubbling plate of gnocchi which arrived at the table fresh out of the oven of a rustic family restaurant in the hills of Naples. I was forever changed, and proceeded to order gnocchi at every lunch and dinner for the duration of the 14 day trip.
Gnocchi then became a staple in our household, and my mother soon showed me how to create my very own Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina. It is a recipe which I have since tweaked and rather appropriately renamed Gnocchi Alla Marie, after my mother, because if it weren’t for her, well I may never have been introduced to this incredible foodstuff (certainly not in such an idyllic setting in any case).
It is a particularly wonderful time for this recipe given that several brands have finally introduced gluten free gnocchi as part of their free from range, namely Difatti, Schar, Farabella, and Le Veneziane. While gnocchi goes so well with so many toppings, sauces and dishes, preparing it this way still knocks any other variation out of the park every time. My recipe will feed several, or will keep well in the fridge in Tupperware for up to three days after preparing. It makes a delicious lunch when reheated in a covered, microwavable dish. Buon Appetito!
Gnocchi Alla Marie
For the Sauce:
2 x Tablespoons of Olive Oil
5 x peeled Garlic Cloves
800g chopped tomatoes in natural juice
500g Italian Passata
1 x Knorr Vegetable Stock Cube
1 x Teaspoon Gluten Free Worcestershire Sauce
Splash of Red Wine (Optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
For the Gnocchi:
500g Gluten Free Gnocchi
250g Chopped Fresh Mozzarella
250g Sliced Mushrooms
25g Fresh Basil
150-250g Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat, gradually adding the garlic. Stir to coat all garlic cloves in the oil and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft, ensuring the garlic does not burn.
- Slowly add chopped tomatoes to the pot (warning – it will spit at you!) and stir, gradually adding the passata.
- Cover the pot and and let the mixture heat up for 10 minutes before adding the crumbled stock cube, the gluten free Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper.
- Pour in the optional wine and cover, leaving the mixture to cook for 20-30 minutes on a medium heat. Stir occasionally.
- While the sauce simmers, preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Boil water in a separate pot. Add the gnocchi to the boiling water and cook for two minutes, draining immediately.
- Place the partially cooked gnocchi in a good sized baking dish and add the cubed mozzarella and sliced mushrooms. Stir the mixture with a large spoon to evenly distribute the ingredients before adding torn basil and stirring again.
- Gently pour the cooked down sauce over the gnocchi mixture and stir evenly. As the sauce tends to cook down even further during the baking process, I tend to use all of it but depending on preference, some sauce can be held back and either refrigerated or frozen for later use.
- Evenly sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the gnocchi, with an additional (and optional) sprinkling of black pepper.
- Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
- Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5-8 minutes before serving.