Potato Gnocchi with Tomato Compote

Alex Cao

Blackbird Dining Establishment, Collingswood, NJ

Chef Alex Cao of New Jersey’s Blackbird Dining Establishment created a version of this savory, summery gnocchi at the historic James Beard House.


  • 2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled (about 8 to 10 medium potatoes)
  • 2 pounds all-purpose flour (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • One 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup diced smoked mozzarella
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Boil potatoes in a large pot of salted water and simmer until cooked through and fork-tender. Remove from heat, strain, and let rest until cool.

Put potatoes through a potato ricer. Dust the work surface and your hands with flour. Place about half of the potato mixture in a mound and form a well in the center. Place one yolk into the center of potato mound and add salt and pepper.

Break up the yolk with your hands, slowly pick up flour and folding the mixture together until the dough comes together. Try not to overwork the dough or the gnocchi will be tough. Form the mixture into a ball and rest for about 10 minutes under a kitchen towel. Repeat with remaining dough.

Cut rested dough into several slices. Dust the work surface with flour and gently roll slices of dough into index finger–sized ropes. Repeat until dough is finished, dust with flour, and cut into 1-inch pieces. Refrigerate in a single layer covered with a towel until ready to cook.

Bring pot of salted water to a boil for the gnocchi.

To make the tomato compote, strain the liquid from the tomatoes and roughly chop. In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add basil and cook until it turns bright green, about 30 seconds. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook for about 1 minute. Add tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Lower heat and cook until thickened, about 8-10 minutes.

Drop gnocchi into boiling water and cook until they float, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Cook in several batches if necessary. Once the gnocchi is cooked, scoop them out of the water with a mesh strainer and drop into the compote. Stir to coat, add smoked mozzarella, and combine.

Spoon into serving bowls and top with Parmesan.


4 to 6 servings