The Sorrento-style gnocchi au gratin are a classic from the Amalfi Coast and Campania. Besides the potato dumplings, the other leading roles are played by sun-ripened aubergines and tomatoes. The dish is traditionally served in a pignatiello, a small terracotta casserole.Jump to Recipe
Hearty Campania - Potato dumplings from Sorrento
Campanian cuisine loves intense flavours and aromas. More elaborate recipes, which in the past were intended for the nobility – such as timballo or gnocchi – meet simple dishes from the country kitchen. Pasta, fish, fruit and vegetables dominate the menu of this fertile region. The aromatic San Marzano tomatoes also come from Campania. Some dishes that are still popular today were already immortalised in the frescoes of Pompeii, which survived the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. Grapes, for example, were then, as now, a must with salty foods.
Strangulaprievete (“Priest choker”)
Many different dishes are called strangulaprievete or strozzapreti in Italy, which literally means priest chokers. In Rome, the strozzapreti are a type of pasta. Legend has it that after Sunday mass, the women alternately invited the priest to their homes for lunch. The guest of honour also received the largest portion of the lunch. The men of the families often wished that the priests would choke on the big bites that they took and lose their desire to return. In Campania, gnocchi alla sorrentina are the regional strangulaprievete. An abbot is said to have been so hungry – and the gnocchi so good – that the greedy priest choked on them. So, as good as they are, enjoy your gnocchi slowly!
Gnocchi alla sorrentina - Potato dumplings from Sorrento
For the gnocchi:
- 1 kg potatoes, not new potatoes
- 1 egg
- 200 g flour
For the sugo:
- 400 g peeled tomatoes, San Marzano
- 1 garlic love
- olive oil
- basil, fresh
- 200 g mozzarella
- 2 handfuls Grana cheese , or Parmesan
- 1 aubergine
- some flour
- oil , to fry
- For the gnocchi, wash the potatoes and boil them in their skin in water until soft. This is done fastest in a pressure cooker. Peel the potatoes while still hot and mash them directly on a pasta board. Salt them immediately and let them cool down. Mix the potatoes with the flour and egg. Form the dough into finger-thick rolls and cut into pieces 2cm long. If you like, you can make grooves in the gnocchi on a gnocchi board or with a fork.
- For the sauce, sauté the peeled clove of garlic in olive oil. Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 15 minutes at low heat. Remove the garlic. Season with salt and basil.
- Meanwhile, cut the mozzarella into cubes and allow to drain in a sieve for 10 minutes. Grate the cheese.
- Wash the aubergine and cut into 0.5 cm thin slices. Turn the slices in flour and deep-fry until crisp. Place on kitchen roll to allow the excess fat to be absorbed. In northern Italy, aubergines are rarely deep-fried, but rather roasted in the oven or on a grill without fat.
- A casserole can also play a role! Let the gnocchi simmer briefly in plenty of hot salt water. As soon as they float to the surface, skim them, drain them and put them into a casserole. Place the aubergine slices on top. Cover with tomato sauce, mozzarella and cheese. Bake at 200° C for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and is golden brown - arruscati in Neapolitan. Serve hot and enjoy.