This simple tomato sauce gets tons of flavor from herbs steeped in olive oil that lusciously coats potato pillows of gnocchi, topped with fresh balls of mozzarella.
It’s a lunch I remember with fondness, and regret.
Fondness because it lit my fire for choosing gnocchi as my favorite thing to order on each and every Italian menu for the rest of my eating out days (ask my husband, I am not kidding) and regret because I didn’t go to that restaurant for more gnocchi more often than I did.
That gnocchi dish was truly made of little pillows of heaven. In fact, that was the name of the dish, Pillows From Heaven, roughly translated into English. I’ve since moved away and honestly, the way restaurants go, it’s probably gone too. But I’ll never forget my first time.
But it doesn’t matter much now, because while I still love going out, I’m just as happy making gnocchi at home.
This year I’m partnering with DeLallo Foods to share recipes using their pastas, pestos and sauces and with my love of the little potato pillows, obviously gnocchi has been high on my list.
But to which sauce do we turn to? Brown Butter Sage? Bolognese? Gorgonzola Cream?
Let’s keep it basic. And tasting fresh. And because you can stock the pantry with these simple ingredients, this sauced gnocchi meal makes for a perfect dinner no matter what night of the week. We’re going classic with a sweet, rich sauce of tomato’d Pomodoro.
About the Recipe
This recipe is one I’ve made for the past few years after seeing a version of it on one cooking show or another. Alton? Was it you?
The sauce starts with the oil. Oil that has been gently infused with fresh herbs to give the sauce a subtle accent of herbal freshness instead of a hit over the head one can sometimes experience with the addition of dried herbs. For this sauce, fresh is the way to go.
The onion and garlic are simmered to softness in the fragrant oil, creating the jammy sweetness to this tomato sauce. As always, be present when cooking garlic in oil, watching it carefully so it doesn’t burn, or the sauce will be bitter. And that would be a crying shame.
When creating a sauce this simple, the ingredients need to be the best. You could use fresh tomatoes, but having a pantry-ready stock pile of quality San Marzano tomatoes makes this dish.
This a one pan meal—okay two pans but who’s counting—with DeLallo’s potato gnocchi is nestled in the same pan I’ve cooked the pomodoro sauce in. Balls of potato gnocchi among little balls of mozzarella and topped with fresh parmesan cheese. It is like heaven!
Drizzle a little extra olive oil over the top so that after a time under the broiler, the gnocchi and cheese develops a cripsy crust that offsets the smooth texture of the rest of the dish.
- ¼ cup DeLallo extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoons
- 4 stems fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
- 4 stems fresh oregano
- 2 stems fresh rosemary
- 2 stems fresh basil, plus 2 more stems for garnish
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 28 ounce can DeLallo San Marzano tomatoes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup heavy cream (optional)
- 1 16-ounce package DeLallo potato gnocchi
- 8 ounces cherry size mozzarella balls, cut in half
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Add ¼ cup olive oil to a 10-inch high sided sauté pan or a saucepan over medium heat. Add the parsley, oregano, rosemary and 2 stems of basil and cook for about 5 minutes or until the herbs become crisp. Remove the herbs and discard then add the onion and garlic to the oil, lowering the heat if needed so the onions cook gently and don't brown. Cook until the onions are transparent, about 5-7 minutes, then crush the tomatoes with your hand and add to the pan with juice. Season with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the sauce reduces and thicken, stirring occasionally. Stir in the heavy cream and remove from the heat.
- Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to a boil and add the gnocchi. Season generously with kosher salt and cook until the gnocchi float to the top of the boiling water. Drain and then place the gnocchi into the cooked sauce. Top with the halved mozzarella balls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese then drizzle the tops of the gnocchi with the remaining olive oil. Broil for 5-8 minutes or until the cheese melts and the tops become crispy. Garnish with additional basil leaves and serve immediately.
Gnocking on Gnocchi’s Door
Gnocchi is a go-to staple to keep in the pantry thanks to DeLallo’s vacuum packed sealed packaging. It makes meal planning a snap. Here are a few more gnocchi’s that will take you straight to heaven’s door.
Warm Gnocchi and Heirloom Tomato Salad | Love and Olive Oil
Gnocchi with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Pancetta and Roquefort Cheese | Savory Simple
Gnocchi Mac and Cheese | Gimme Some Oven
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This post is part of a partnered series with DeLallo Foods. As always, thank you for reading and for supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.
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