As far as I'm concerned, this is one of the most divine, delicious Italian dishes on earth. Whenever I eat it I'm reminded of the first time I ever tasted it when I was in Sorrento. The sugar is added to the tomato sauce to try to replicate the sweetness of the fresh San Marzano tomatoes used by the Italians.
Ingredients 1 packet of shop bought potato gnocchi
2 x 400g tins of chopped Italian tomatoes
A splash of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 teasp sugar
A few basil leaves
125g mozzarella cheese, diced, preferably Buffalo
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Fill a medium sized saucepan with water, add salt and bring to the boil.
Add the gnocchi and remove with a slotted spoon once they rise to the surface.
While the water is boiling add the olive oil to another saucepan and heat for a couple of minutes.
Add the garlic and cook gently for a minute or two without burning.
Add the tomatoes with a teaspoonful of sugar, and stir with a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes.
Tear in a couple of basil leaves and cook gently for about 15 minutes to allow the tomato sauce to reduce and thicken.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°/Gas 4.
Put a layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of an ovenproof dish.
Dot with a layer of diced mozzarella.
Add the drained gnocchi.
Finish with a layer of tomato sauce, topped with the rest of the mozzarella.
Sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese on top.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. If you want you can also pop the dish under the grill for a few minutes to cook until a little more golden.
Serve garnished with a couple of basil leaves, and offer more grated parmesan for sprinkling at the table.
Of course if you have more time than me, you can make your gnocchi from scratch.