It’s my favorite part of Olive Garden; the endless chicken and gnocchi soup and the endless breadsticks. Bread AND soup in unlimited quantities? It’s a miracle I haven’t been banned yet.
This is a good copycat recipe. It’s not an exact replica, but it’s pretty damn close (and it may have been an exact replica if I’d stuck to the original recipe– found here courtesy of passthesushi.com— instead of modifying it for what I had on hand). It’s creamy and delicious. After all, it’s more cream than broth. It’s also one of those occasions where I’ll skip making gnocchi from scratch and instead cheat with some that’s found packaged at the grocery store. To the best friend whose cuisine ranges more along the lines of chicken nuggets and plain pasta, you might even maybe consider trying this one 😉
The cooking has definitely been helping my anxiety. I get to control the outcome of something completely and totally, and I take great joy in my culinary accomplishments. This is a good comfort food, too, and even though it’s not super healthy, it’s a lot better than eating most of what’s at the food court at my job. Eating healthier has probably helped play a positive role in the anxiety, too.
That being said, even if you’re not anxiety-riddled and a little insane like I am, you should try this recipe anyways. It’s comforting, and it’s easy, and it’s cheap, and it’s delicious. And it reheats well the next day, if there’s any left over.
Here’s all that you need:
- 3 tbls butter
- 1 tbls olive oil
- 1 stalk celery, chopped fine
- 1/4 cup onion, chopped fine
- 1 clove garlic minced (I cheat sometimes and use the jarred stuff if it’s on sale)
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 pint half and half
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1/3 cup shredded carrots
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup chicken, diced or shredded and cooked prior (I only used a little because it’s what I had in the freezer, feel free to use more)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup frozen spinach
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 16 oz package gnocchi (this means LOTS of gnocchi, but I love it this way)
Start water for the gnocchi and cook according to directions while starting the soup.
Heat the oil and butter in a pan. Once heated, add in onion, celery, and garlic. Once cooked (when the onion is clear), add the flour and form a nice frothy roux.
After stirring for about two minutes add in the cream. After it’s heated, add the carrots and chicken (which, again, should be previously cooked). Add in thyme, salt, and pepper to taste.
Stir while it’s cooking, and once it thickens, add the gnocchi after making sure it’s well drained.
That’s it! You can opt to use gluten free gnocchi and rice flour, too. A weird side note, this is delicious with not only bread on the side, but a bit of gruyere cheese sliced up and served on the side is extraordinarily delicious with it, too. Whether you eat it with anything else or not, it’s delicious, and I owe many thanks to the original copycat chef for allowing me one of my (many) guilty pleasures within the comfort of my own home.