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Homemade Gnocchi with Tomato Onion Butter Sauce

Two Marcella Hazan recipes come together to make tomato butter sauce with homemade gnocchi, adapted from Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classical Italian Cooking.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Author: Angela Roberts


Tomato Sauce (enough for gnocchi recipe or 1 -1/2 pounds of pasta

  • 2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled, chopped (keep the juice)
  • or 2 cans imported Italian plum tomatoes cut up with their juice
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion peeled, cut in half (I used two small candy onions)
  • salt

Gnocchi Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds of boiling potatoes boiled in salted water, just until done
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour


Tomato Sauce

  • Put tomatoes, butter, onion, salt in sauce pan and simmer uncovered slowly for 45 minutes. Marcella says to discard onion, but I used immersion blender at the end to incorporate the sweet onions. Candy onions are purple, small, super sweet and I didn’t want to waste that sweetness. I used locally grown roma tomatoes, some from my farmer, some from my own yard.
  • Taste and correct seasoning.

Gnocchi Instructions

  • nstructions
  • Boil, peel and rice potatoes while still warm.
  • These instructions are simplistic, and much more detailed in the book.
  • Do not add all the flour at one time. Start by adding a half cup and then keep adding, just until you have a dough you can work with. If you are unsure, have a small saucepan of boiling water ready and test one. It takes 10 seconds to test.
  • Dough will be a little sticky, but should be easy to work with should not fall apart while boiling. Don’t overwork. Roll into cylinder, cut in 3/4” pieces and taking it lengthwise across a fork, depress center. The center should be thinner than the edges, which helps to keep the gnocchi tender.
  • The ridges serve to hold the sauce.
  • Use 4 quarts of water in sauce pan to boil. Add salt. In the beginning, add 3 gnocchi and cook only FOR TEN SECONDS. Taste and if too floury, add only 2 or 3 seconds. If you are tempted to cook your gnocchi behind this point, they will become the dreaded piece of rubber.
  • Time your gnocchi to be ready when your sauce is done, cooking the gnocchi in the last stretch of those 45 minutes. When gnocchi is ready, add grated cheese, and then the sauce.
  • Serve immediately. Season to taste.