Monday, December 12, 2011

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup like the Olive Garden

We rarely go to the Olive Garden or any Italian place for dinner. Face it, I'm not going to pay $15 for one plate of pasta when I can make at home for $5 and feed 4 people. But they were running the soup and salad deal so my husband and I went for a late lunch one day. I fell in love with the chicken and gnocchi soup. It was warm, creamy, and delicious. Only there wasn't enough gnocchi in the soup for me. Heck one bowl they brought out didn't have a single gnocchi in it. I knew then I could find a recipe and make it myself. The only problem is I couldn't find gnocchi at my local store so I substituted orecchiette and I put in a lot of them. It was wonderful. I have since made a trip to Trader Joe's and found gnocchi so next time I make it, it will be true chicken and gnocchi soup.

I also used chicken from ones we had grill roasted. I love to fill my grill up with whole chickens and cook several all at once. I mean why not? It freezes well and it takes the same amount of time and effort to cook one chicken as it does to cook four. We have a roast chicken dinner the night we cook them and after they cool we pick the chickens and put the pieces into freezer bags. Then it is ready for soup or casseroles or pot pie. It pays to think ahead.

Yield: 8 servings.
1 cup chicken breasts, cooked and diced (you can use a rotisserie chicken)
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 quart half and half
1 14 ounce can chicken broth
1/2 cup celery, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup carrots, finely shredded
1 cup onion, finely diced
1 cup fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin oil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon parsley
Freshly grated parmesan cheese – optional
1 pound potato gnocchi – can buy this in the gourmet section of many supermarkets
Sauté the onion, celery, and garlic in the butter and olive oil, over medium heat when the onion becomes translucent, add the flour, and make a roux, let the butter and flour mixture cook for about a minute before adding 1 quart of half and half.

Cook gnocchi according to package directions.

Into the roux add in the carrots and chicken. Once the mixture becomes thick add the chicken broth. Once the mixture thickens again, add the cooked gnocchi, spinach, and seasonings, simmer until soup is heated through.

Recipe found at CopyKat.