These soft pillowy potato gnocchi filled with a surprise of fresh cherry tomatoes and melted mozzarella will be your favorite spring/summer dish. Every bite reminds of sunny weather and Caprese salad, the perfect combination!
I always loved Gnocchi, but the true love started when I tried homemade ones for the first time. A new world opened to me, Gnocchi didn’t mean anymore chewy hard potato balls covered in sauce; Gnocchi now meant soft delicate potato pillows which are so versatile and can go with any sauce imaginable. I didn’t nead anymore a ton of sauce to be able to chew the store bought ones. A knob of butter was enough to enjoy them fully.
Then a few years ago I started experimenting, pushing the Gnocchi boundaries to the limit to see how versatile they really are. I tried to make Gnocchi out of any vegetable, try them with many different sauces and stuff them with many different things.
Two of my favorite Gnocchi dish which I make often are the Stuffed Gnocchi with Gorgonzola and the Tarragon Potato Gnocchi. They are simple, just a few ingredients, but oh boy the flavor is off the charts!
Caprese Salad and Gnocchi
The idea for this dish was inspired by Caprese salad, my favorite summer salad. A simple salad made with fresh Mozzarella, delicious tomatoes and the best of all herbs, Basil.
The name “Caprese” means from Capri. Capri is a small beautiful island in Italy, close to Naples. In summer is very often eaten as a main dish, especially on the beach, because it’s refreshing and light, but still filling. It’s also very often used in a sandwich, for a quick lunch on the go.
My favorite version of Caprese salad is with Coer-de-Boeuf Tomatoes, Buffalo Mozzarella, good olive oil, salt, oregano and basil leaves. But there are also other versions with the addition of grilled vegetables, anchovies, or balsamic vinegar.
Tip about the potatoes: The best potatoes for gnocchi are the starchy kind (Russett is the most common). It’s better to boil them whole with the skin on, so they absorb less water. Another cooking option is steaming or baking the potatoes (with the skin) but it’s more time consuming.
Potato Gnocchi stuffed with Mozzarella and Tomato
For the Gnocchi
- 400 g (14 oz) Potatoes
- 140 g (1 cup) All Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Salt
For the Stuffing
- 1 Mozzarella
- 6-7 Cherry Tomatoes better if Pachino variety
- Black Pepper
- EV Olive Oil
- 1-2 sprigs Basil
- 1-2 tbsp Parmigiano cheese grated
- Boil or steam the potatoes until tender (20-30 minutes depending on the size), then peel them and mash them finely while they’re still warm.
- Add the salt and 3/4 of the flour and mix well until you get a soft uniform dough, not sticky. If necessary add more flour.
- Cover in plastic wrap and set aside to cool down for about 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing. Chop the tomatoes in half and remove the center core, leaving only the firm shell. Chop it finely and put it in a bowl.
- Drain the mozzarella and chop it finely, add it to the bowl with the tomatoes. Add the salt and black pepper and set it aside. If water comes out of the mozzarella, drain it as much as possible.
- Cut the dough in 3 or 4 parts, take 1 part and cover the rest with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry. Dust the cutting board with flour and roll the dough with your palm to make a long thick cord about 2 cm of diameter, then cut chunks 2 cm long.
- Roll each chunk between your palms to make balls then press them on your palm to make a disc.
- With a teaspoon, place a little amount of stuffing in the center of the disc and close it on itself, roll it again between your palm to make the ball smooth and set it aside on a clean cloth.
- Bring to boil a large pot of salted water the slowly drop the gnocchi in and cook until they float on the surface. Drain and put in a large bowl, immediately add the good quality olive oil to coat them.
- At the last minute, chop the basil leaves and add them to the Gnocchi.
- Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano.
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