Joey and I received an amazing opportunity last week to speak at the Kentucky Press Association’s winter conference.
We had a fabulous time with some really great people. My only complaint was the weather for our drive there and back heavily featured thick fog and switched between torrential downpours and drizzles.
By the time we came home over the weekend, I was thankful for some Kansas sunshine, but I also found myself really craving some comfort food to get the last bit of that dreary weather feeling out of my system.
I poked through some recipes for a bit and landed on a popular comfort meal from Italy, and even better, the version I decided to try comes together a lot quicker than more traditional versions of the recipe, which was a win-win after being away from home for several days.
This is from the blog “Girl Gone Gourmet.” You can find the original post at https://www.girlgonegourmet.com/gnocchi-alla-sorrentina/#tasty-recipes-13873. I added onion, red pepper flakes and extra basil, mozzarella and garlic in my version.
Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina
- 1/4 cup olive oil I used extra virgin
- 1/2 small yellow onion diced
- 6 to 8 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 cups tomato puree I ended up using twice that, since I let my sauce reduce
- 1/2 cup basil leaves loosely packed and torn into pieces
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 16- ounce packages gnocchi
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella sliced
- parsley flakes for plating
- Heat the olive oil in a large, oven-proof skillet over medium heat.
- Add the onion and saute until it is cooked through.
- Add in the garlic and saute for just a couple minutes until it is lightly browned.
- Stir in the tomato puree, basil leaves, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Turn the skillet to medium-low and let the sauce simmer, stirring regularly.
- Bring a stockpot of water to a boil. Cook the gnocchi until it rises to the top of the water.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to the skillet, and stir to incorporate all the ingredients.
- Lay the sliced mozzarella spaced evenly on the top of the gnocchi.
- Turn the broiler in the oven on high and place the skillet in the oven, leaving it for a few minutes until the cheese is melty and the sauce is bubbling.
- Let the gnocchi cool slightly, and serve, topped with parsley flakes, along with a thick slice of crusty bread.
I loved this one. It’s a vegetarian dish, but it doesn’t feel like it. The gnocchi and all the melty mozzarella kind of make you forget that there isn’t any meat on your plate, and the addition of fresh basil really kicks this up a notch to taste homemade, despite the main part of the sauce coming from a can.
Paired with a big slice of garlic bread, this was exactly what I needed to clear the rainy day doldrums out of my mind.
I hope we get a chance to go back to Kentucky again soon. It’s a beautiful state with lots of neat people. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed for a little better weather the next time around.
This piece first appeared in print on Feb. 1, 2024.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.