Sunday, October 23, 2011

Olive Garden Chicken and Gnocchi Soup Knock-off

Whenever Eric and I go to Olive Garden, we get the soup, salad, and bread stick lunch. It's yummy, filling, and inexpensive (which usually allows us to splurge on dessert!) All their soups are delicious, but the chicken and gnocchi soup is by far my favorite. I think I've come up with a pretty good knockoff version that we can make at home.

¼ cup canned chicken
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
2 garlic gloves, minced
¼ cup frozen carrots and peas
½ cup spinach, thawed, drained and chopped
10 potato gnocchi
¼ cup Parmesan-romano blend cheese, grated
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon thyme
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Dissolve cornstarch into the cup of milk. Set aside.

In a sauce pan, heat olive oil and sauté the garlic, frozen peas and frozen carrots. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add chicken, gnocchi, thyme, salt, and pepper. Wait until the gnocchi is cooked—about five minutes—before adding the milk/cornstarch solution and cheese. Bring back to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add spinach. Cook for another minute or two. Serve with additional Parmesan as a garnish.

You can buy potato gnocchi from the frozen section of your grocery store or make it yourself. I made my own. While they turned out delicious, they required so much work that I’ll probably never prepare them again. Given the effort that goes into them, I’d rather pay the price at the checkout lane.

A lot of the time when I cook, I work with the things in my pantry which means I don’t always have the exact ingredient for a recipe. Eric loves making fried rice so we always have frozen peas and carrots in the freezer, which is why they go into this soup. I also usually substitute whole milk with cornstarch for half and half just because cream always goes bad before I can use the carton and Eric only drinks whole milk so it’s always in the fridge. Using half and half makes the soup a little bit richer and creamier but if you don’t have any in the house, whole milk and cornstarch works wonders.



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