Homemade Gnocchi with Tomato Herb Sauce


I came across this recipe a year ago and it quickly became one of my favorites, particularly because I learned how to make my own gnocchi. Gnocchi is an Italian potato pasta that looks impressive but is actually incredibly easy to make. If you are tight on time and space, store-bought gnocchi is also delicious and comes in shelf-stable packaging, which is a huge bonus. I make this in my cast-iron skillet, but any high-sided skillet will work. If you don't have a cast-iron, I'd highly recommend using one. It will totally change your cooking abilities and they aren't an expensive investment. 

Most of these ingredients are long-lasting or shelf stable, which makes it an easy recipe to make. I have basil and oregano plants in my apartment and there are several large rosemary bushes growing in people's yards in my neighborhood. The bushes are so large that I just pluck off a stem here and there as needed. When I have a garden again, I can't wait to plant a big rosemary bush so others can grab some from mine instead! 

The recipe calls for canned tomatoes and you can really use any kind- crushed, San Marazano, diced, fire-roasted even. If you use large canned tomatoes, just crush or cut them before pouring into the sauce. I usually use a combination of whatever canned tomatoes I have on hand. This recipe is as flexible as you are! 

Homemade Gnocchi with Pomodoro Sauce

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Serves: 4
Difficulty: Intermediate
Adapted From: Foodie Crush

1 medium russet potato
1-2 cups flour (as needed) 
1 egg
Or store-bought gnocchi

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
4 stems fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
4 stems fresh oregano
2 stems fresh rosemary
2 stems fresh basil
½ yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
8 ounces cherry size mozzarella balls, cut in half
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Peel potato and cut in half. Boil until soft and mash finely. Take potato out of water, but leave the pot of water on the stove for later use. Set aside in a medium to large bowl until the mashed potato has cooled.
2. In a medium cast iron skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and herbs and cook for 5 minutes until herbs are crisp. Remove with tongs and discard.
3. Add garlic and onion, lowering heat so the onion does not brown. Cook 5-7 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
4. Pour in crushed tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes until sauce reduces.
5. While the sauce is simmering, make gnocchi. If using store-bought, skip to step __ and turn the oven on to high broil.
6. Start by adding egg and 1 cup to flour to the potato and mixing with a spoon. Add flour as needed to make a firm dough that can be rolled into a ball. Split the ball into 4 parts, for easier workability.
7. Roll the gnocchi dough into a long strip, approximately 1/2" thick. Slice into small pieces and set aside on a plate. Repeat with remaining dough. 
8. Once all gnocchi have been made, bring water pot up to a rolling boil and the oven on to high boil. Boil gnocchi, working in batches if needed, for 3-4 minutes. Gnocchi should rise to the top for several minutes. If you are unsure of doneness, you can remove one and slice it open.
9. Place cooked gnocchi into sauce along with sliced mozzarella. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and drizzle remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
10. Broil under high heat for 5-6 minutes or until the cheese melts and the tops become crispy. Garnish with additional basil leaves, if desired and serve immediately.