Gnocchi alla Sorrentina (Pomodoro Sauce with Basil and Buffalo Mozzarella)

I picked this recipe up from our “mama” at a small B&B in the mountains surrounding the Amalfi Coast. It was such a huge BONUS to have affordable, quality cooking classes available in addition to a comfortable and hospitable stay. Mama (Gabriella) is an excellent cook and host, and the cooking classes offered at her B&B use many ingredients from the organic garden. Check out Mama’s B&B, Nido Degli Dei, for your next stay in the Amalfi Coast!

This version of gnocchi is my absolute favorite – made with quality ingredients like Pomodoro sauce, fresh basil, and buffalo mozzarella. This recipe comes from the city of Sorrento, near Naples and the Amalfi coast. The city of Sorrento is also known for its extremely large, sweet, lemons – used for making Italy’s famous limoncello.  

Servings: 8


1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 pork rib, or a large slice of ham

15 cups tomato sauce (i.e., Pomodoro sauce)

Salt to taste

12 whole basil leaves

3 cups buffalo mozzarella, chopped into ½ inch pieces

10 cups potato gnocchi – find my recipe HERE.

¾ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped (for serving)


Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the crushed garlic clove and allow to cook until browned, but not burnt (approximately 1 minute). Remove the garlic clove from the pot and discard (or eat!).

To the pot, add the pork rib or the large slice of ham. If you want a smokier-tasting sauce, you can add ham. Otherwise, stick with the pork rib. Allow to cook in oil for approximately 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add 15 cups of tomato sauce (preferably home-made) to the pot. Increase heat to high, and bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for 1.5-2 hours, covered.

Once the sauce is done cooking, add salt to taste. Stir in 12 whole basil leaves. Adjust seasoning as needed.

Once the sauce is done, cook your gnocchi. For fresh gnocchi, boil salted water. Add gnocchi and cook until the gnocchi floats (3-4 minutes). For the best ever traditional gnocchi recipe, click HERE.

If you’re using packaged gnocchi, cook the gnocchi according to the package directions.

In a large bowl, combine the gnocchi, approximately ¼ cup of reserved starchy cooking liquid, the sauce, and chopped buffalo mozzarella. At this point, you may decide to serve the gnocchi family style or in individual bowls. Garnish with the ¾ cup chopped basil.


*feature photo courtesy of


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