This has been on my list of things to try making for a while. Our main Olive Garden favorite is Zuppa Toscana, which I still make regularly, but I still wanted to give this one a try. It is actually really easy to make and doesn’t take too long to make. For the gnocchi, you have the option of buying at the store (usually in the pasta, refrigerated, or frozen section) or making your own. I had a leftover baked potato in the fridge, so I decided I would try making my own. It’s not too hard either, just a little time-consuming. I’ll give the recipes for both.
What you need:
1 large russet potato, weighing about 1 pound
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup flour, plus more for work area
Pinch of salt
How to make it:
First, bake potatoes. I used a potato that I had baked in the slow cooker earlier in the week. If you don’t have an already baked potato, preheat oven to 350 F. Pierce potato with a fork all around potato. Bake for about 1 hour, or until potato is very soft. Remove potato to a rack and cut open to allow to cool.
Scoop out the insides of the potato and discard skins (or save skins for some other use). Pass the potato through a potato ricer or run along a small grater. Add the egg yolk, flour, and salt, and mix by hand until you get a ball of dough.
Flour your work area. Take a small ball of the dough and gently roll on your work surface until you have a long roll about 3/4″ in diameter. Cut off 1″ sections. Roll each along the back of a fork to get small indentations in each piece. Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
To cook, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Gently add gnocchi, a few at a time, to the boiling water. When they rise to the surface, use a slotted spoon to remove gnocchi. Repeat for remaining gnocchi. Serve with sauce or pesto, or set aside to add to soup below.
What you need:
1 lb chicken, cut into 1″ cubes (or 2 cups cooked chicken)
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups half and half (I just use 1% milk in all my soups, and it comes out fine)
1 pound potato gnocchi, made as above or cooked according to the package directions
3 cups coarsely chopped spinach leaves
Salt and black pepper to taste
How to make it:
Heat a little olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook until no longer pink inside and slightly browned outside. Remove from pot and set aside.
Heat the 3 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook until vegetables become tender, about 10 minutes. Mix in the flour, basil, salt and pepper. Stir continuously for about 5 minutes.
Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and half and half to prevent any lumps from forming. Bring to a light boil, then reduce heat to low to simmer for 20 minutes, until soup thickens.
Add the cooked gnocchi and spinach to the soup. Gently stir and cook until spinach wilts. Serve immediately.