At this point, “Olive Garden imitation” is a full recipe genre. Almost every cooking blog out there promises to have unlocked the secrets of various recipes from the Italian food chain. There are many I admit, I am guilty of following them sometimes. But there’s a reason I’m researching recipes instead of actually driving to Olive Garden. Because you get the chance to put your own twist on a tried-and-true recipe. Olive Garden’s chicken and gnocchi soup is the perfect canvas.
When I first learned of the existence of gnocchi soup, I was very skeptical. I’d only ever tried gnocchi with pesto or marinara sauce—who thought floating little potato balls in soup was a good idea? Well, whoever invented it was a genius. Olive Garden’s chicken and gnocchi soup was addictive the moment I ate it. Homely, warm and full of ingredients. Honestly, there’s nothing worse than drinking a whole can of chicken noodle soup.
Most chicken and gnocchi soup imitation recipes like my inspiration Crème de la Clam, stay strictly true to the Olive Garden original. Still, determined to create the ultimate expression of a familiar favorite, I took some liberties. added. I added some chopped bacon and some paprika for some smoke. If you really think celery is a worthy soup ingredient, you’re lying. Either way, trust me.
Yield: 6 servings
Time: 40 minutes
- 2 raw chicken breasts
- 16 oz package of gnocchi
- 8 ounces chopped bacon
- 2 cups baby spinach
- ½ cup diced white onion
- 1/2 cup julienne carrots
- 3 cloves of minced garlic
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup fresh cream
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- shredded parmesan cheese
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and chopped bacon and sauté until browned.
- Season the chicken breast with Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and paprika, and add to the pot. Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side. The chicken will still be a little raw on the inside, but don’t worry.
- Add the chicken stock powder to a pot and bring to a boil. Add the gnocchi and cook as directed on the packet. Reduce heat until liquid boils.
- Remove chicken breast from pan to cutting board. Mince or dice the chicken, then add it back to the soup.
- Add the heavy cream and spinach to the pan and simmer for a few more minutes until the spinach is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
- Top with plenty of finely chopped Parmesan cheese and voila!
Made in one pot in less than an hour, this recipe takes less time than driving to the nearest Olive Garden in Oxnard. Plus, it’s the perfect meal for a rainy day. And if the rest of the winter quarter resembles anything like the first few weeks, there’s plenty of bad weather to justify your chances of giving chicken gnocchi soup.
A version of this article is posted on p. His 10 in his January 26, 2023 edition of the Daily Nexus.