Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Copycat Olive Garden Creamy Chicken & Gnocchi Soup

About a month or so ago I met with a bloggy friend Clarice... for lunch at the Olive Garden and ordered their creamy chicken Gnocchi soup which I fell in love with and later had withdrawals for it and so I thought to myself ..."I wonder if I can find the recipe for it and make it at home on occasion or heck... on a regular basis that is... So I searched the web and here it was. I tried the recipe and it was exactly like Olive Gardens soup...I am so thrilled. I made it twice already . The second time was a Sunday lunch I invited 5 people over after Church and they all loved it too! I didn't add the spinach though and I made my own gnocchi...I heard that the store bought kind is kinda yukky! Though I can't say, since I never had it. So hare you go...It's relatively easy to make just be sure to give yourself a couple hours for it takes some time to make the gnocchi...or you can surely prepare it ahead of time then throw the soup together. It is worth the time!!!!
Copycat Olive Garden Chicken & Gnocchi Soup
  1. 1/3 c. olive oil
  2. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 1 lb. chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  4. 1/3 c. flour
  5. 1/2 c. shredded carrots
  6. 1 stick celery, chopped
  7. 1/2 c. fresh chopped spinach
  8. 2 & 1/2 c. milk
  9. 1 & 1/2 c. heavy cream
  10. 3 chicken bullion cubes
  11. salt & pepper to taste
  12. 17 oz. pre-made gnocchi
  13.  ( I made my gnocchi from scratch * recipe below)
On medium heat, cook chicken and garlic in a large pot in olive oil until cooked through.
Stir in flour and mix well until the flour is cooked into the chicken.
Add the rest of the ingredients except for the gnocchi.
Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add gnocchi; cook for 3-4 more minutes till cooked through.

Homemade Gnocchi
Scant 2 pounds of starchy potatoes (2 large russets)
1/4 cup egg, lightly beaten
scant 1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
fine grain sea salt
Fill a large pot with cold water. Salt the water, then cut potatoes in half and place them in the pot. Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until tender throughout, this takes roughly 40-50 minutes.
Remove the potatoes from the water one at a time with a slotted spoon. Place each potato piece on a large cutting board and peel it before moving on to the next potato. Also, peel each potato as soon as possible after removing from the water. Be mindful that you want to work relatively quickly so you can mash the potatoes when they are hot. To do this you can either push the potatoes through a ricer, or do what I do, deconstruct them one at a time on the cutting board using the tines of a fork - mash isn't quite the right term here. I run the fork down the sides of the peeled potato creating a nice, fluffy potato base to work with  Don't over-mash - you are simply after an even consistency with no noticeable lumps. Save the potato water.
Let the potatoes cool spread out across the cutting board - ten or fifteen minutes. Long enough that the egg won't cook when it is incorporated into the potatoes. When you are ready, pull the potatoes into a soft mound - drizzle with the beaten egg and sprinkle 3/4 cup of the flour across the top. I've found that a metal spatula or large pastry scraper are both great utensils to use to incorporate the flour and eggs into the potatoes with the egg incorporated throughout - you can see the hint of yellow from the yolk. Scrape underneath and fold, scrape and fold until the mixture is a light crumble. Very gently, with a feathery touch knead the dough. This is also the point you can add more flour (a sprinkle at a time) if the dough is too tacky. I usually end up using most of the remaining 1/4 cup flour, but it all depends on the potatoes, the flour, the time of year, and the weather. The dough should be moist but not sticky. It should feel almost billowy. Cut it into 8 pieces. Now gently roll each 1/8th of dough into a snake-shaped log, roughly the thickness of your thumb. Use a knife to cut pieces every 3/4-inch (see photo). Dust with a bit more flour.
To shape the gnocchi hold a fork in one hand (see photo) and place a gnocchi pillow against the tines of the fork, cut ends out. With confidence and an assertive (but light) touch, use your thumb and press in and down the length of the fork. The gnocchi should curl into a slight "C" shape, their backs will capture the impression of the tines as tiny ridges (good for catching sauce later). Set each gnocchi aside, dust with a bit more flour if needed, until you are ready to boil them. This step takes some practice, don't get discouraged, once you get the hang of it it's easy.
Now that you are on the final stretch, either reheat your potato water or start with a fresh pot (salted), and bring to a boil. Cook the gnocchi in batches by dropping them into the boiling water roughly twenty at a time. They will let you know when they are cooked because they will pop back up to the top. Fish them out of the water a few at a time with a slotted spoon ten seconds or so after they've surfaced. Then plop them into your soup mixture. I put in about 80 of them to the soup. You can use the rest for another time just freeze them up to 6 months. I heard they are also good in pesto sauce. Let me know if you have any questions.
Okay, so this might just be a bit fattening...but it is all from scratch. Which I intend to do more of. Cooking from scratch is much healthier for you than buying pre- packaged and it costs less in the long run. Hope you make it and love it ! Happy cooking!!!
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  1. Yummm, I know your soup is wayyyyyy better. We will have to try this xoxox Clarice

  2. I've bookmarked this on Delicious. Love this soup at OG - thanks for sharing the recipe. Stopping by from Raising Homemakers.

  3. Just wanted to say that our potatoes were nice and fluffy and worked very well when I smooshed them with a pastry cutter.

    This turned out soooo good!