Thursday, October 29, 2009

Do you love the Chicken & Gnocchi Soup at Olive Garden?

I just love the Chicken & Gnocchi Soup at Olive Garden.  I found a 3.3 lb box of Gnocchi during a recent trip to Sam's Club (yes, I actually went to Sam's because Paul has a membership).  That made me think it was time I found a way to make that soup.  I googled "Olive Garden Chicken & Gnocchi Soup" and found at least 30 recipes - some looked good, others did not.  I borrowed ideas from about 8 of them and came up with a recipe that I think came pretty darn close to Olive Garden's version.

2 chicken breasts
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Pampered Chef Italian Seasoning
1 stick butter
6 cups chicken broth
1 quart Half & Half
2 stalks of celery (sliced in small thin pieces)
2 carrots (grated)
1 small zucchini (grated)
1 medium onion (diced)
1 garlic clove (minced)
3/4 cup flour (divided)
1 cup fresh spinach (chopped)
1 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste
16 oz potato gnocchi

Pour olive oil into a bowl and add Italian seasoning.  Stir and then add the chicken breasts.  Coat the chicken with the oil and seasoning and allow to sit for 30 minutes.

Place the chicken on a hot, greased grill pan over medium heat.  Season with salt and pepper and allow to cook undisturbed for five minutes.  Turn, season the other side and cook for an additional five minutes.  Turn the chicken again, turn the burner off and let the chicken sit for about three minutes.  Remove from heat.

Melt butter in a stock pot.  Saute the onion, celery, carrot, zucchini, and garlic over medium heat until the onion is translucent.  If you like your veggies crunchy, cook a little less.

Add the 1/2 cup flour and stir well.  Allow to cook until the flour has an almost nutty smell (about 1 1/2 mins).

Slowly add chicken stock while stirring constantly.  The flour mixture should help to thicken the chicken stock.  Stir remaining 1/4 cup flour into 1 cup of the Half & Half.  Pour into soup, and add the remaining Half & Half and then heat to boiling.

Add the thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.  I recommend undersalting.  This seems to become more salty as it cooks.

Slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces.  Add the chicken and gnocchi to the soup and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the spinach just before serving.  Allow to cook for 1 - 2 minutes until the spinach is wilted.

This really is sooooo good!  It is certainly worth the time it takes to slice, dice and grate all of the veggies.

Need some help with your slicing, dicing or grating?  Ask me for a Pampered Chef catalog.  The Pampered Chef Mandoline and 5" Utility Knife made quick work of this for me.  Oops, I almost forgot I used the Garlic Press too.

The whole family loved this!  Even the teenagers . . .

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