Home » Chicken » Chicken and Gnocchi Soup {Olive Garden Copy Cat}

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup {Olive Garden Copy Cat}

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

I’m adventurous enough when I order food at a restaurant but at Olive Garden I’m stuck in a rut.  A delicious rut, that is.  I adore their Chicken and Gnocchi Soup!  The number of gnocchi you get in each serving varies wildly, but I love the creamy flavors of the soup.  I can mostly forgive them for not being consistent on the soft little gnocchi pillows.

I knew the soup had to be pretty simple.  Little pieces of chicken, some shredded carrots, bits of spinach, some gnocchi and a creamy white base. It’s the simple melding rather than a complicated collection of ingredients that makes up this soup’s flavors.  I was pretty sure I could replicate it.  What I didn’t realize was how much work it was going to be!

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

I’ve never made gnocchi and that was the bulk of the work.  From start to finish, including making the gnocchi, it took me about 4 hours.  I mean I didn’t sit down much to wait for things to cook in that 4 hours either.  It was a lot of busy work but chalk a lot of the time up to it being the first time.  Next time it will go faster.  And I’ll probably make the gnocchi the day ahead of time.

Consulting a few online copycat recipes, I made my own choices.  My first choice was to add extra carrots to the base which colored my soup.  Not white, but a pretty golden color, it was the only difference after the soup was finished.  My soup tasted so close to the Olive Garden’s that we kept mmm’ing through each mouthful.

Saute onions, celery and carrots for several minutes until onion begins to turn translucent.  Add chicken and saute until no longer pink.  Add broth.

Saute onions, celery and carrots for several minutes until onion begins to turn translucent. Add chicken and saute until no longer pink. Add broth.

I sautéed the shredded carrots, celery and onion in the soup pot with a good drizzle of oil.  When they had a little color going I added the chopped chicken and sautéed it until it was no longer pink.

I’d taken the chicken out of the freezer quite late in the morning so it was somewhat frozen yet.  No problem however; it sliced and diced just fine with a little frost in it still.

Add 10 cups chicken broth

Add 10 cups chicken broth

Vegetables and chicken sautéed, I added 10 cups of chicken broth.  I used a new organic brand that came in a carton instead of my usual vegan cubes.  It was light brown which probably also contributed to my finished soup not being creamy white.

I added a teaspoon of ground thyme and 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper to the soup pot.  I brought the soup to a bubbling boil then reduced it to medium low and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add flour, egg and salt to cooled, riced potatoes

Add flour, egg and salt to cooled, riced potatoes

In the meantime I made my gnocchi.  I’d roasted the potatoes earlier and cut them in half.  I scooped out the potato and set the skins aside for later.  I riced the potatoes while hot as recommended on Mario Batali’s website.  I also followed his mother’s video on how to make the gnocchi.

I let the riced potatoes cool completely and as my soup simmered I mixed the potatoes, flour, egg and salt well with my hands.  It seemed dry but if you keep at it, eventually it comes together.  I dumped it onto the countertop and kneaded the ball for 5 minutes.  I just kept going until it was smooth but not elastic.

Mix with hands and form into ball.  Kneed for 5 minutes until smooth but not elastic

Mix with hands and form into ball. Kneed for 5 minutes until smooth but not elastic

Following Marilyn Batali, I formed the dough into a flat disk about 1″ thick, then cut strips off with my square metal scraper/chopper thingy.  I never know what to call it!

After forming in a flat circle 1

After forming in a flat circle 1″ thick, slice into ropes 1″ wide, then cut into 1″ pieces. Dust with flour and mark with back of fork or gnocchi paddle

Once I had a long ropelike strip I cut it into about 1″ long pieces and set them on a baking sheet and dusted them with flour to prevent sticking.

In hindsight my pieces were a bit large, they could have  been maybe half that size.  When I had them all cut I rolled them on the back of a fork to get the lines that collect the soup or sauce.  They weren’t as pretty as using a gnocchi paddle as Marilyn Batali did.  I will need to find one of those in the stores before I make more gnocchi.  I’d like mine to look as pretty as hers do!

Add spinach and simmer for several minutes

Add spinach and simmer for several minutes

While I made the gnocchi I added the spinach to the soup and let it simmer for a few more minutes.  The soup was coming to a boil and I was ready to finish the gnocchi.

Gnocchi made and shaped, I added it to the bubbling soup.  Oops, not enough liquid to allow them to move around.  I turned up the heat under my soup and added the 2 cups of milk (I was out of cream) and the spinach.  I let it come back to a boil.  I stirred it several times and once it was boiling again I let the gnocchi cook for about 5 minutes.  I tested one and decided they were done.  They were also floating, which was a good sign.

Add milk to soup and heat through

Add milk to soup and heat through

Another taste test for salt and pepper.  I added more salt, stirred, and was happy with the flavors.  I loved that there was just the right amount of thyme and nutmeg.

As the soup had simmered for the last 5 minutes I’d prepared the potato skins.  I sprinkled salt then shredded cheddar on the potato skins and slipped them under the broiler to brown.  I served the soup with a side dish of potato skins and we dug into our meal.  The creamy soup was totally delicious and so much like Olive Garden’s soup I was pleased.  My P.S. thought it could use more salt and I pointed to the salt shaker and told him to have at it.  Mine was perfect.

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

I suppose my soup would maybe have been white like the Olive Garden’s if I hadn’t sautéed the vegetables and chicken but I liked the flavors that resulted from the sautéing.  I think the color is fine as I made it.  And as I work to make my gnocchi a little more professional looking, I am happy that my bowl of soup had a better count of gnocchi than a serving at the restaurant!

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup {Copycat Recipe}

5 medium potatoes; baked whole  (I used red potatoes)
1 ¾ cup flour plus more for dusting
1 large egg; beaten
Coarse salt
1 cup diced carrots
¼ cup shredded onion
¼ cup shredded celery
Drizzle of oil
2 cups diced chicken; raw
10 cups chicken broth (I used organic cartons of broth)
1 teaspoon ground thyme
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups heavy cream or milk  (I used milk)
2 cups spinach; chopped finely

Making Gnocchi:

Bake potatoes until they are soft when you squeeze them.  Cut in half and scoop out insides, reserving peels for another time.  Rice potatoes while hot into a large bowl.  Set aside and cool.

Add flour and 2 teaspoons of salt to the potatoes and top with egg.  Work ingredients together with your hands.  Knead on counter for 4 minutes until smooth and dry to touch but not elastic.  Add flour if it becomes sticky.

Work dough into ball and gently flatten to 1” thick disk.  Cut ropes down the side with knife or spatula and cut each rope into 1” pieces.  Use back of a fork to roll each piece.  It should curl as it rolls.

Making the Soup:

Dice carrot, onion and celery and sauté in bottom of soup pot with a drizzle of oil.  Stir and watch, they will burn easily.  Add chicken and stir until no pink remains.

Add broth, thyme and nutmeg and let soup come to a boil; reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15-20 minutes while you make the gnocchi.

Bring soup to a bubbling boil again.  Add cream or milk and spinach and let it barely come to a boil.  Place gnocchi into pot and let cook for 4-5 minutes until they float to the top.

Stir together mixture of cornstarch and water, adding to the soup and stirring until soup thickens.

Taste test soup for seasoning and serve hot.

Gnocchi adapted and Guided by Marilyn BataliTiara Logo


4 thoughts on “Chicken and Gnocchi Soup {Olive Garden Copy Cat}

  1. Greetings Audrey. This is my absolute favorite soup. I grew up in an all Italian family, where gnocchis were homemade. This is by far the closest I have seen to being authentic. I will definitely be trying this recipe. Thank you.


    • Thanks! I couldn’t see buying gnocchi ready made when the rest of my recipe was from scratch. It’s not difficult, it just takes a little time and planning ahead! I hope you do try it!

      Liked by 1 person

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