These homemade gnocchi with napoletana sauce take a little effort to make, but the results are well worth the effort. For that reason, I usually only make this dish on a lazy weekend when I’ve got time to relax in my kitchen and just enjoy cooking. If you want things to go quicker, get some tomato passata from a fruit and veg shop and use that instead of the making the napoletana from scratch. It won’t be quite the same, but it does the trick. Use plenty of basil leaves to add plenty of freshness to the dish.
(Prepare this before the gnocchi)
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 celery stick, finely chopped
- 500g very ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
- 1 Tbs shredded fresh basil leaves
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
- ½ tsp. brown sugar
- 1/3 cup boiling water
- 500g potatoes, unpeeled
- 1 egg
- 3 Tbs. grated Parmesan
- 1 cup plain flour
- Pinch salt
- Napoletana Sauce:
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy based pan. Add the onion, carrot and celery, cover and cook for 10 minutes over a low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Add the tomatoes, parsley, basil, thyme, sugar and boiling water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add more water if a thinner consistency is required, season with salt and black pepper and leave to cool.
- Process in a food processor or blender until smooth and re-heat before serving.
- Boil or steam the potatoes (with the skins on), until they are just tender (+-30-45 minutes). Drain thoroughly and peel the potatoes while they are still warm.
- Mash or puree with a potato ricer and leave to cool.
- Make a well in the center of the potatoes and sprinkle the potatoes with flour.
- Add the egg, Parmesan and a pinch of salt and using a fork stir into the flour and potatoes.
- Once the egg is mixed in, knead the dough for 5 minutes, adding more flour if necessary, until a smooth dough is formed.
- Divide the dough into four portions and roll each portion onto a lightly floured surface to form a sausage shape, about 2cm thick.
- Cut each roll into 2.5cm slices and shape each into an oval.
- Press each oval against a lightly floured fork, pressing gently with your index finger or thumb underneath as you go, to form a dent in the back of each one and fork marks on the other side.
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Cook the gnocchi in batches for 1-2 minutes or until the gnocchi float to the surface.
- Drain well and serve immediately tossed in the Napoletana sauce, garnished with fresh basil leaves or chopped parsley and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese if desired.
- Season further with black pepper and a pinch of salt if required.