Pasta of Sorrento / Pasta di Sorrentina

Pasta of Sorrento / Pasta di Sorrentina

Sorrento is a town in Campania, a province of Naples. The dish expresses all the tastes of southern Italian regional cuisine, with the classic ingredients of the southern sun; basil, tomato and olive oil, with the other major ingredient of the region, the mozzarella di bufala.

Credit: Cooked and reviewed by JOAN (Swansea, Wales, UK). Adapted from a recipe by Benny Aprile on this website:


  • 400 g dried or fresh penne or fusilli pasta
  • 600 g of pretty firm, ripe tomatoes or two 400 gm cans of Italian peeled plum tomatoes
  • 200 g of Italian passata
  • 200 g of vegetarian mozzarella OR goat’s cheese chopped into small cubes and drained in a colander
  • 60 g of finely grated vegetarian cheddar cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled (or to taste)
  • 3 tbsp fine white breadcrumbs


  1. Blanch the fresh tomatoes for 5 minutes in boiling water, transfer the tomatoes with a slotted spoon into a bowl of cold water, drain them and then peel them, remove the seeds and chop coarsely.
  2. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and gently fry the garlic for 2 minutes then remove the cloves. Add the tomatoes and passata and season with oregano, salt and pepper. Stir and cook on a simmering heat for 15 minutes. If using the canned tomatoes, crush with a potato masher when in the pan.
  3. In the meantime, add the pasta to boiling salted water and cook according to the packet instructions or longer for your liking. Fresh pasta is even better and cooks in just a few minutes – your choice.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (180°C Fan oven), gas mark 6.
  5. Drain the pasta in a colander and return to the pan. Add to the tomatoes and stir thoroughly. Keep the pan on a low heat setting for 5 minutes and stir occasionally. Turn off the heat and pour about half of the pasta sauce mixture into a 20 cm x 30cm lightly oiled ovenproof tureen and spread to make the first layer.
  6. Add the mozzarella / goat’s cheese cubes on to the pasta sauce layer. Cover with the remaining pasta sauce and spread evenly. Sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese thinly over the top layer and finish with a layer of breadcrumbs.
  7. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes until the cheese is completely merged and amalgamated with the tomato sauce and has formed a dense and fragrant sauce. Remove from the oven and let it settle for 2 minutes.
  8. Serve into warmed bowls, trickle extra virgin olive oil over the top layer and garnish with basil leaves.
  9. Serving suggestion: Serve on its own or with fresh salad of your choice or broccoli spears.

Pasta di Sorrentina / Pasta of Sorrento

“The penne alla sorrentina is a delicious dish, simple and genuine with typical flavours of Italian cuisine (specifically the Sorrento Peninsula). It is a recipe very well known in the world and used by the restaurants in Sorrento. Its composition is based on the use of short pasta, in particular penne rigate (good to hold the sauce), topped with fresh tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. You can also use other formats such as mezze penne pasta, paccheri or even gnocchi (the famous dumplings of Sorrento). The preparation is very simple to implement and some ingredients used are reminiscent of those that are used to prepare the famous pizza margherita. Importantly all the ingredients must be fresh and of excellent quality for the success of the dish. It is therefore at first economical, hearty and very tasty.”

Cooked and reviewed by JOAN (Swansea, Wales, UK)

Roadside signpost to Sorrento

Hi John
Have tried the Italian recipe you sent me. It was very tasty. I used brown penne pasta and maybe it was more filling than the white so have divided into 8 portions and put some in the freezer. I did struggle with the weight of the pans as I am used to just cooking for two.
Much as I enjoyed the dish nothing will persuade me to take up cooking on a regular basis. I will leave that to Mor.
Hope you have a happy new year and you continue to enjoy your cooking.
Love to Barbara and hope to see you both soon.

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