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Gnocchi with pomodoro sauce is a simple yet incredibly satisfying combination. In this recipe, which chef Eric Lees used to make at Spiaggia in Chicago, easy-to-make gnocchi made from russet potatoes, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and egg yolks are paired with a buttery tomato sauce laced with fresh basil. Lee uses a potato ricer to make the gnocchi, but if you don't have one, grate the cooled potatoes on the small holes of a box grater for a similar texture. "I absolutely love this dish and could eat it every day," says Rachael Lowe, former beverage director of Spiaggia and a 2016 Food & Wine Sommelier of the Year. To make a dinner of gnocchi with pomodoro sauce really special, suggests Lowe, serve it with a good wine: "I love to drink the Piombaia Brunello di Montalcino 2015 with it; on the palate, the integrated-yet-present acidity balances out the racy tomato sauce, while the slightly grippy tannins cut through the richness of the gnocchi."

By Eric Lees
October 2021

Gallery

Credit: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

Recipe Summary test

active:
1 hr 30 mins
total:
3 hrs 35 mins
Servings:
6
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Place potatoes directly on middle rack of preheated oven, and bake until tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Carefully cut potatoes in half lengthwise; let stand until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes. Scoop potato flesh into a ricer; discard skins. Process potatoes through ricer into a large bowl. Add, but do not stir in, cheese, egg yolks, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and pepper. Sprinkle flour over mixture; using your hands, fold together until well incorporated and mixture forms a soft dough ball, about 1 minute. Wrap dough with plastic wrap; refrigerate 30 minutes. Remove dough from refrigerator, and unwrap. Place dough on a floured work surface, and cut dough evenly into 5 pieces. Using your hands, roll each piece into a 121/2-inch-long rope. Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece until it is about 1 1/2 inches long. Place on a lightly floured baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

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  • Bring 16 cups water and 1/4 cup salt to a boil in a large Dutch oven over high. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Add gnocchi to boiling water; cook, stirring occasionally, until gnocchi begin to float, about 2 minutes. Transfer to ice water; let cool 3 minutes. Drain well. Transfer gnocchi to a large bowl; add oil, and toss gently. Cover and refrigerate up to 3 hours. 

  • Process tomatoes in a blender until smooth, about 10 seconds. Transfer tomato puree to a large saucepan; add basil, garlic, and sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 45 minutes. Add butter and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; stir until butter melts. 

  • Place gnocchi in tomato sauce; simmer over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until warmed, about 5 minutes. Garnish servings with additional cheese and basil, if desired.

Make Ahead

Gnocchi can be prepared through step 1 and placed in freezer until frozen. Transfer to ziplock plastic freezer bags, and freeze up to 6 weeks. Continue with blanching and cooking in tomato sauce as directed.

Suggested Pairing

Vibrant, complex Tuscan Red: Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino

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