I could eat Italian food every day. Give me a big bowl of pasta tossed with fresh tomato sauce and I’m one happy momma.
I can’t believe I worked as long as I did in the travel field, went all over the place, and never went to Italy. It was on my list of places to travel. Mr. Mother Thyme and I were even at one point looking at getting married in Tuscany. I had this wild idea of wanting to get married in the sunflower fields. That was probably back in the day I was in love with the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun.
One day I’ll get there, when the kiddos are older. In the meantime, I’ll live vicariously through my mom who just returned from Italy a few weeks ago. Sometimes the best way to enjoy another country is through food and you don’t even need to get a plane. It is a great way to enjoy other cultures from the spices used to the way is food is prepared. Food tells such a beautiful story and connects others to places they may never get to.
I was thrilled for this month’s Secret Recipe Club to have been assigned Manu’s Menu. Written by the talented Manuela, she takes us on a culinary journey with delicious recipes throughout Italy and beyond. Her mouthwatering photos make you hungry for more. One recipe after another looks incredible. From authentic Italian cuisine to a variety of other tasty recipes, Manu’s Menu is one blog you definitely want to follow.
I had the hardest time picking just one recipe to feature. Some of my favorites are Pasta with Creamy Broccoli and Pine Nut Sauce and Pesto Lasagne just to name a few. I settled on Gnocchi alla Sorrentina because I just couldn’t wait to try it. With a simple tomato sauce, and fresh mozzarella, melted and bubbly, what could be better? All you need is a fork to enjoy this authentic dish from Sorrento. Set the mood with little Andrea Bocelli playing in the background while you dine, and transport yourself to Italy with each delicious bite, no passport required.
- 1.1 pound potato gnocchi, prepared per package instructions
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small whole onion, peeled
- 15 ounce can tomato puree
- 10 basil leaves
- 5.5 ounce fresh mozzarella
- 2.3 ounce Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add whole onion and and sauté for a couple minutes.
- Reduce heat to low. Stir in tomato puree, half of the whole basil leaves and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until sauce thickens.
- Remove onion. Cube 3½ ounces of mozzarella and add to sauce. Stir until melted and sauce is smooth.
- Roughly chop remaining basil leaves and add to sauce.
- Stir in cooked gnocchi and 2 tablespoons Parmigiano Reggiano.
- Heat oven broiler.
- Grease 4 individual oven proof ramekins. Divide gnocchi between each ramekin. Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano.
- Place ramekins under broiler and and watch carefully until cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Garnish with fresh basil and serve.