gnocchi with tomato basil sauce

Potato Gnocchi With Tomato Basil Sauce


In this dish, Potato Gnocchi with Tomato Basil Sauce, the humble potato is transformed into a melt-in-your mouth delicacy. Gnocchi are simply the Italian version of dumplings and can be prepared in limitless ways. Just about any sauce will compliment this potato dumpling.

Today, there is such an extensive variety of gnocchi! Some are made with ricotta or squash while others are flavored with beets. There are also gnocchi where different flours are utilized, such as chestnut, buckwheat and also wholewheat flour.

Another version is made with semolina flour, milk, cheese and known as Gnocchi alla Romana. I’ll leave this one for another post perhaps, because it deserves a special space here on my blog.

These Potato Gnocchi with Tomato Basil Sauce, however, is the type of dish I grew up with. They were my number one request each time my mamma would ask me what I wanted to eat for my birthday celebration and she never failed to remind me of the countless times I would help her twirl the gnocchi with my chubby little fingers!


A potato ricer does an excellent job of mashing the potatoes. If you don’t have one, a fork will do just fine.


I’ve had this gnocchi board for many years now but very rarely used it. You can find them in any kitchen supply store at under 5 dollars.

Mamma taught me to twirl the gnocchi using my index finger and middle finger by pressing both down into the gnocchi and rolling quickly towards me. Alternately you can use the back of a fork to make the pretty indentations. The little ridges that form are a perfect entrapment for all that delicious sauce.


These exquisite potato gnocchi are very filling and therefore often served in moderate portions as a first course meal.


Furthermore you will want to savor every bite, enjoying the melt-in-your mouth sensation and never rush a good thing!


A Few Tips For Beginners:

Always start with less amount of flour then the recipe calls for. The moisture of your potatoes and the amount of eggs used will determine how much flour is needed.

Do not knead more then a few minutes as this would result in too much flour adsorption which yields heavier gnocchi.

It goes without saying to always use a big sauce pot when cooking any form of pasta. Drop a few at a time into the boiling water to avoid the gnocchi from sticking together.

The potatoes can also be boiled instead of baking them. Just make sure to not pierce or cut through the potato when boiling them, otherwise they will absorb to much water.

Ideally you will want to make and cook the gnocchi within a few hours. Simply transfer the gnocchi in a single layer on a lightly dusted cookie sheet and cover with a clean dish towel till ready to use.

Gnocchi can also be frozen. Transfer them on a cookie sheet in a single layer and place the tray in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer them into a freezer bag.

In conclusion, have fun and don’t be too hard on yourself. Enjoy the process after all practice makes perfect!




Potato Gnocchi With Tomato Basil Sauce
In this dish, Potato Gnocchi with Tomato Basil Sauce, the humble potato is transformed into a melt-in-your mouth delicacy sure to dazzle family and friends.
Recipe type: Main Meal
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
  • For the gnocchi
  • 4 large russet potatoes (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon beaten egg
  • 1½ to 2 cups all purpose flour
  • Simple Tomato Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • pinch of crushed chili pepper
  • 24 ounce jar Passata ( Italian strained tomatoes) I used San Marzano
  • 2 sprigs of basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup diced mozzarella
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. For The Gnocchi
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Wash the potatoes under cold running water and pat dry.
  4. Use a large knife and make a deep incision length-wise into each potato.
  5. Place the potatoes on a cookie sheet and bake until they are tender, for about 1 hour.
  6. Let potatoes cool a little but do peel them while they are still a bit warm.
  7. Put them through a potato ricer. Alternately you can use a potato masher or a fork.
  8. Place the mashed potatoes in a large bowl.
  9. Add in the salt, 1 tablespoon of beaten egg and 1 and ½ cups of flour.
  10. Using your hands, mix well just until the flour and potatoes stick together forming a rough looking dough.
  11. Transfer the dough to a wooden board or work surface.
  12. Knead the dough lightly, gradually adding a little bit of the remaining flour if the dough is sticking too heavily on your work surface. (I did not need all of the remaining ½ cup more of flour)
  13. Knead for 2 to 3 minutes.
  14. The dough should be smooth, pliable and just a little bit sticky.
  15. Cut off a section of dough at a time.
  16. Roll the piece of dough with a back and forth motion until you get the thickness of your index finger.
  17. Cut the roll into 1 inch pieces.
  18. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  19. To shape the gnocchi, I used my little wooden gnocchi board with ridges.
  20. Alternately, you can use the back of a fork .
  21. Hold the fork at 45 degree angle, with the tines down on the work surface with its' inside curve towards you.
  22. Take a gnocchi role and press it with your index finger against the tip end of the fork while quickly sliding it up along the length of the fork tins.
  23. Or simply use your index and middle fingers by pressing both fingers down into the gnocchi and rolling quickly towards you. The gnocchi will flip over and have a pretty indentation.
  24. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
  25. Transfer the gnocchi on a lightly floured cookie sheet and cover with a clean dish towel.
  26. Set aside while you prepare the sauce.
  27. Tomato Basil Sauce
  28. Heat the oil in a medium sauce pot over medium low heat and saute the garlic with the crushed chili pepper just until fragrant, taking care not to burn the garlic. (should take less then a minute).
  29. Add in the passata (Italian strained tomatoes), basil, salt and pepper and stir well.
  30. Fill the bottle of passata three quarters full with water. Give it a good swirl and add this to the sauce.
  31. Bring the sauce to a boil then lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the sauce thickens and the sweet concentrated flavors of the tomatoes come through.
  32. While the sauce simmers, fill a large sauce pot with water and bring to a rapid boil.
  33. Add salt to the boiling water and then the gnocchi.
  34. Once the gnocchi come to surface they are pretty much ready. Leave them floating for about 10 seconds. (If they stay in the water too long, they will become mushy).
  35. Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and place them on a serving platter.
  36. Pour a little of the sauce over the gnocchi, stir to combine then mix in the diced mozzarella.
  37. The heat of the tomato sauce will slowly melt the mozzarella.
  38. Divide the gnocchi onto four plates. Top with more sauce and Parmesan cheese.
  39. Serve while still hot.





  1. Does this ever have me wanting to get out the ricer! Your recipe and instructions are spot on and it’s been far too long since I’ve enjoyed gnocchi. Far too long. Thanks for the much-needed shove in the right direction! 🙂

  2. This looks so good! Love it Marisa! I want to make this!

  3. Gnocchi were a special treat for us growing up as well. Your instructions and tips are absolutely spot on, especially for someone who has never attempted them before; this is the sign of an excellent teacher.

    • High phrase indeed coming from you Paula! Feeling very humbled now! My intent was to help the novice gnocchi maker so am very glad to hear it came through. Thank-you for your lovely comment Bella😊

  4. I have never tasted gnocchi or tried making them. How did I mis these ?> 🙂 Thanks for reminding

  5. Your gnocchi look awesome!! I haven’t made gnocchi in a long time but I think I may have to soon. I have some fresh basil and some gorgeous homemade tomato sauce to use up. Better dust off that gnocchi board!!

  6. We made ricotta gnocchi, that are called gnudi, and we’ll post them soon 🙂 . We haven’t made potato gnocchi yet. My mother is the one who makes gnocchi, but she doesn’t put the egg and she boils the potatoes. There are so many ways for doing gnocchi, and it changes from region to region. They look fantastic, Marisa, and that sauce…oh my…want to lick the plate 🙂 .

    • I have been dying to try gnudi!! Mamma too would boil hers but I find that when baking the potatoes, less flour is needed and the gnocchi are lighter. I also find that just a small amount of beaten egg is enough to bind the ingredients and they fall apart less in the boiling water. So true there are so many ways of making the gnocchi and all equally delicious. Thanks so much 🙂

  7. I just made gnocchi for the first time a few weeks ago. I could not believe how easy it was….and delicious too. These look wonderful. Mine did not have the little fancy “ridges” as I don’t have a gnocchi board.

    • A gnocchi board is really not needed and only ever used mine twice! I find twirling the gnocchi with my index and middle finger much quicker….thanks Gloria 🙂

  8. This looks so incredibly delicious! Pinning this right away! 😀

  9. I adore gnocchi. Just love it. I’ve made it a few times now, but always with an added veggie (e.g. cauliflower). I must say though, the simple perfect potato version is really calling to me. I need to track down a gnocchi board though, as the fork method has never been my favourite. Fantastic recipe Marisa!

    • Sean if you can’t find a gnocchi board simply use your index and middle fingers to make the twirl, it is really easy! Have fun and thanks for dropping by!!

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  11. Just saw your post featured by Foodgawker on Instagram. Great exposure! Congrats!

    • Thanks so much Magda…that is really sweet of you! I was pleasantly surprised! It really is nice to be acknowledged for all the time and effort we as bloggers invest in each and every recipe……😊❤️

  12. ABSOLUTE Perfection! I am freaking out because your posts aren’t in my reader… Ugh. I’ll re-follow! Now I have to see all I’ve missed!

    • Hi Jostte! First thank-you so much for the re-follow and second I don’t know why but you are not the only one who cannot see my posts in their reader. I have reached out to WordPress but they say there is no issue. Very frustrating…

  13. Marisa, I love potato gnocchi but have never made them at home. Bookmarking your recipe as I am so inspired to make them and also because i love the simple but classic sauce you made with it too.

  14. These look just perfect!
    And it seems I’ve missed this post as your blog once again disappeared from my reader. I tried to add my email address but that doesn’t work either… frustrating!

    • Sorry for the inconvenience Ronit…this seems to occur every time I update the Jetpack plugin on my blog. Thanks so much for returning and your lovely comments 🙂

  15. Love this! For me Gnocchi alla Sorrentina (as I know this dish) is a great summer dish when I can make it with fresh tomatoes. I make them almost the same as you, except that I don’t add any egg and thus can use less flour and keep them even lighter. (For 2 pounds of potatoes I would use 1 1/2 cups of flour.)

    • Hi Stefan thanks so much for dropping by and commenting. I will most certainly try them your way next time…light tasting gnocchi are the best😊

  16. Have usually made gnocchi by boiling potatoes but I’m really looking forward to making them again with baked potatoes and following your other great tips. Love gnocchi! Thanks for sharing Marisa. 🙂

  17. Looks great. I tried to make gnocchi one or twice and failed but reading your beginner tips makes me want to try again. I’ve pinned this recipe. My grandmother made great gnocchi in Italy in a dirt floor kitchen!

  18. I have never made gnocchi at home as I feel I’ll mess it up. Your dish looks phenomenal. Thanks for the helpful tips. Also, I love the look of your site! May I ask which theme you are using currently?