Start to Finish: 4 hours
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Olive Garden's chicken and gnocchi soup blends chicken, spinach and Italian potato dumplings in a creamy broth. Store-bought gnocchi is a suitable ingredient for homemade soup. This recipe, inspired by Olive Garden's own three-ingredient gnocchi recipe, shouldn't trouble any home cook who has experience making mashed potatoes and cookie dough.
- 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 medium eggs
Meat, Vegetables and Broth
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 celery stalk, sliced
- 2 carrots, julienned
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups spinach
- Salt, to taste
- Ground pepper, to taste
Prepare Homemade Gnocchi
Place freshly scrubbed potatoes in a stock pot. Cover the potatoes with water. Boil them until they are tender.
Drain the potatoes. Fill the pot with cold tap water to help loosen the skins. Peel the potato skins and discard them.
Refrigerate the potatoes until they are cool throughout, approximately 30 minutes depending on their size.
Press the potatoes through a potato ricer to generate a fine-textured mash. Do not break down the potatoes with a hand masher, which would make the mash too dense for gnocchi.
Mix the potatoes, flour and eggs in a large bowl to create a thick dough. Add extra flour, if necessary, to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands when you handle it.
Scoop a portion of the dough out of the bowl with your hands. Roll the dough into a long rope that is about 1/2 inch in diameter.
Lay the dough rope on your work surface. Cut the rope into 1/2-inch-long dumplings. The dumplings should look like little rounded squares. Gently press a fork into the top of each piece to impart the subtle ridges characteristic of gnocchi.
Roll, cut and decorate the remaining portions of dough.
Drop the dumplings gently into a pot of boiling water. Cook the gnocchi until they float. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon.
Refrigerate the gnocchi in an airtight container until you add them to the soup.
Cook the Soup
Whisk lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large bowl to prepare a marinade. Drop rosemary sprigs into mixture.
Slice chicken breasts to make 1/2-inch-wide strips. Cut each strip into two or three bite-sized pieces. Transfer the chicken to the bowl of marinade. Stir the chicken to coat each piece evenly.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the chicken for 30 minutes up to two hours.
Pour remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a stockpot or Dutch oven. Sauté onion, celery and carrots in the oil until the onion is semitranslucent, approximately five to 10 minutes.
Remove the bowl of marinating chicken from the refrigerator. Pour out excess marinade and discard the rosemary.
Add the chicken to the vegetables. Cook the ingredients until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and golden brown on the surface. Cooked chicken should be white, opaque and firm throughout. Reduce the heat if the vegetables start to brown before the chicken finishes cooking.
Pour wine into the pot to deglaze it, scraping any golden bits of onion or chicken off the bottom with a large spoon.
Add chicken broth and heavy cream. Increase the heat setting to bring the soup to a boil. Drop the gnocchi into the soup gently. Continue boiling the soup for five minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium, dropping the soup down to a steady simmer. Simmer the soup for 10 minutes or until it reaches the desired thickness.
Stir torn spinach leaves into the soup, simmering it until the spinach wilts.
Season the soup to taste with salt and ground pepper.
Making Substitutions and Storing Soup
Olive Garden describes the chicken in the soup as "roasted," but the pieces have grill marks. Oven-roasted or grilled chicken breast meat would work well in the soup too.
The restaurant recipe includes sliced celery and julienned carrots, but you can slice, chop or dice the vegetables according to your preferences.