Easy Caramelized Gnocchi with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella

This dish, also known as Gnocchi alla Sorrentina, consists of fried gnocchi covered with an easy cherry tomato and mozzarella sauce with tons of fresh basil. 30 minutes, tops. Score.

Easy Caramelized Gnocchi with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Eric: Can I get you anything?

Karen: Yes. A chocolate cupcake. Or a brownie will do.

Eric: *Looks in the fridge* Cherry tomatoes! *pops one in mouth* Want one?

Karen, totally offended: NO, I DON’T.

Easy Caramelized Gnocchi with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Probably there is nothing worse than someone trying to feed you vegetables, when all you want is this or this or this.

Easy Caramelized Gnocchi with Cherry Tomatoes and MozzarellaSpeaking of veggie failures recently, the other night I dumped an entire bottle of ranch on my salad. It was a pitifully small salad, too, that I hadn’t even served myself. Eric threw a few pieces of lettuce on my plate (as he often does) in an attempt to help me avoid getting scurvy. I was trying to douse it in ranch, true, but not THAT much. “I stand behind my decision to avoid salad and other disgusting things.” Well said, Leslie Knope.

(Alright, alright, I don’t really hate salad. Proof here, here, and here.)

Easy Caramelized Gnocchi with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella

But oh my, check out these beauties. I know I was talking smack about cherry tomatoes earlier but I actually love them when I’m not craving chocolate. Add garlic and basil and crispy fried gnocchi and fresh mozzarella? SOLD. Fried gnocchi, people!!

Easy Caramelized Gnocchi with Cherry Tomatoes and MozzarellaI made this recipe last summer and have been meaning to share it ever since. We always eat it too fast. It is the perfect summer meal. Full of garden goods like basil and tomatoes, and it’s only 30 minutes on the stove top, so you can get back to eating popcicles outside by the pool. (At least that’s what we pretend our lives are like, right??)

Easy Caramelized Gnocchi with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella

PS If you don’t know what gnocchi is, that’s okay we can still be friends, as long as you promise to make this like today. Gnocchi is found on the pasta aisle. It’s a little mini dumpling made of mashed potato and flour.

Do you guys give up? Or are you thirsty for more?
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Caramelized Gnocchi with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Yield: Serves 4


  • 16 ounces cherry tomatoes (buy 2 dry pints)
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound potato gnocchi, whole wheat or regular (or homemade, recipe here)
  • 1 12 or 16-oz tub marinated baby mozzarella, drained*
  • fresh basil, to garnish
  • freshly grated parmesan, to serve (optional)


  1. Begin by chopping the tomatoes in half. (You will need about 1 1/2 boxes of tomatoes. No need to measure, just eyeball it.)
  2. Clean and de-stem the basil, then chop roughly.
  3. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a medium saucepan and set to medium heat. Slice the garlic thinly. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and saute until it has started to brown lightly, about 1 minute. Add the halved tomatoes (and any juice) and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add most of the basil, reserving a few tablespoons to garnish with.
  5. Add the sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn the heat all the way down to low.
  6. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, add the butter and 3 tablespoons of olive oil and turn the heat to medium. When the butter is melted and the oil is hot, add all the gnocchi. Stir with a wooden spoon to cover them with oil, then spread them out evenly so they are in one layer. Season with salt and pepper. Set a timer for 5 minutes and do not stir. You want the gnocchi to caramelize and get nice and brown. After 5 or 6 minutes (whenever they have browned), use a wooden spoon or spatula to flip each gnocchi to brown the other side. Cook for another 3-5 minutes until browned, stirring again if necessary. Remove from heat.
  7. Turn off the burner with the tomatoes. Add the drained mozzarella balls and stir. You want to heat up the mozzarella without melting them too much--they should retain their shape. (If the tomatoes are too hot, wait).
  8. You can either add the fried gnocchi to the pan with the tomatoes, or spoon the gnocchi onto each plate and top with tomatoes and mozzarella.
  9. Serve with a chopped basil leaves and grated Parmesan. Eat this with a big salad and some crusty bread.


*Use the olive oil from the mozzarella balls to fry the garlic and the gnocchi! I always forget to do this!


Source: slightly changed from Divine Cusine

Easy Caramelized Gnocchi with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Easy Caramelized Gnocchi with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Easy Caramelized Gnocchi with Cherry Tomatoes and MozzarellaYou can use as little or as much basil as you want. I can’t get enough so I pile it on.

Other easy summer dinner ideas:

Grilled Squash, Red Pepper, and Feta Sandwich

Grilled Squash, Red Pepper, and Feta Sandwich

Easy Parmesan Tilapia

Easy Parmesan Tilapia

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Easy Sausage and Broccoli Kebabs with White Bean Salad

In case you missed it last week: Easy Sausage and Broccoli Kebabs

More gnocchi recipes:

Chicken Gnocchi Soup from The Food Charlatan

Italian Sausage Gnocchi Bake from Simply Gloria

Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi from Simply Recipes

Easy Ricotta Gnocchi from Budget Bytes





  1. says

    This is what my dreams are made of. I can’t believe I’ve never fried gnocchi! And I even have some homemade stuff in the freezer. I’ve been standing behind my decision to avoid salad and other disgusting things as well… unless I can cover them with enough sauce and cheese to make the edible!
    Ashley | The Recipe Rebel recently posted…Raspberry Watermelon SorbetMy Profile

  2. Misty mi says

    I happen to have some in my cupboard that has been waiting to be made into a knock off version of olive gardens chicken and gnocchi soup. But frying it!?! That just sounds fun! Also I’ve seriously been telling everyone about the garlic and lime chicken! Best part is I can totally have it while on Atkins! Gnocchi will have to be for guests but I’ll totally steal a bite! :-)

  3. says

    Love, love, love gnocchi! Have you ever made it from scratch though? I only attempted once a few years ago and it seemed to be quite the ordeal. But I’m inspired again. Or, maybe to at least pick it up on the pasta aisle. And I love tomato, basil, and cheesy anything – really, all the time, but especially right now when you can actually get tomatoes with some flavor!
    Christina Lakey | Food Apparel recently posted…Herbed Lemonade (Mint, Basil, Dill): Gourmet StyleMy Profile

  4. says

    This gnocchi dish looks absolutely amazing. I’ve never actually made my own gnocchi- but always been tempted to try it. One time I helped a friend during the last stages of shaping the dough- which was really fun- and tasted delicious. But I’d like to make it from start to finish. I think I’m inspired now! Really pretty pics, Karen.
    Sarah@RunningOnBrie recently posted…Sesame Almond Quinoa Salad with Hearty GreensMy Profile

  5. says

    Ohh my gosh… I just love that little exchange between you and your husband! It sounds like me every time I walk into my parents’ kitchen looking for something to eat. “Here, have some salami!” “No thanks, I’m looking for chicken (cough cough).” “What about cheese?” “Umm, no thanks… Do we have any ice cream?” “Umm, I think so!” (I check the expiration date… 8/2011.) I’ve learned to pack my own food whenever I visit, or at least stop by the grocery store first! ;) But if there’s one thing my entire family can agree upon, it’s gnocchi. We’re absolutely addicted!! There’s a restaurant back in the Bay Area that serves theirs with the most incredibly creamy gorgonzola sauce ever… My mom and I always reach for extra slices of bread to mop it up. So good!
    Amy @ Amy’s Healthy Baking recently posted…Whole Wheat Honey Peach MuffinsMy Profile

  6. Lindy says

    This dish was absolutely scrumptious! Wow. It was rich, satisfying, and full-flavoured, and amazing with freshly-made gnocchi. The presentation was beautiful too, especially with grated Parmesan on top! I will definitely be making this again, next time for company!

    • says

      Lindy, thank you for your comment! I always love to hear reviews on the recipes I post. I’m so glad you guys loved it! We’ve made this multiple times now, it doesn’t get old :) Have a great day Lindy!

  7. Dani says

    Not to be totally annoying, but gnocchi cannot be “caramelized.” When you caramelize an onion, you fry it slowly at a low temperature to change the chemical makeup. Sugars are excreted as the onion softens, hence caramelized. Potato and flour does not secrete sugar when you fry it. Just sayin.

  8. Tara says

    Made it yesterday for Easter… amazing. The sauce alone was delicious. I will definitely be making this again… and again.

  9. Laurwarr says

    I made this and lived it. Though after looking for other recipes for seared gnocchi I see that they have you boil the gnocchi befor frying. You do not, correct?


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