Brad and I tend to stay away from chain restaurants when we go out to dinner, but once in a while Olive Garden just hits the spot. Coming from an Italian family, I find most of their pasta dishes to be mediocre, but I do love their soup, salad and breadsticks. I always order the chicken gnocchi soup, which usually entails making a fool of myself while I attempt to pronounce gnocchi correctly. I love the rich creaminess of the soup paired with the veggies and tender gnocchi. I could make a meal just from the soup alone.
I sought out to recreate Olive Garden’s famous soup, and while this is close, it is not an exact replica. Regardless, it is still a very tasty soup, and it will be great as a quick, hearty dinner as we draw closer to the cool weather of fall. It is certainly not a low-fat soup, but I urge you to splurge and use the half and half. You can certainly use milk, but if you reheat your soup later on it may have a grainy feel to it.
Chicken Gnocchi Soup
Yields: 4-6 servings
1 pound gnocchi, homemade or store-bought
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup celery (about 2 stalks), diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup flour
1 quart half and half
1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
1 cup carrots, shredded
2 (4 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced and cooked
1 cup fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil, the cook the gnocchi just until they float to the top. Drain, and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and garlic and sauté until the onion becomes translucent. Whisk in the flour to form a roux, and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the half and half, and add the carrots and chicken to the dutch oven. Simmer until the mixture begins to thicken, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, and allow the mixture to thicken again, stirring often, about 5 minutes or until the consistency desired is achieved. Stir in the gnocchi, spinach, and seasonings and simmer until soup is heated through.
Source: Adapted from CopyKat recipes