We’re halfway through January already, which means only 19 more weeks still Memorial Day! That’s a bit optimistic, even for me! The truth is we have quite a bit of Winter to slog through and most of the Spring as well before we reach that milestone.
Instead, we’re hunkering down and making ourselves as warm and comfortable as possible while the wind howls outside our door. As a boy, I truly enjoyed visiting my Grandma Borelli who lived in Roulette. I would watch her intently as she made home-made noodles and other Italian delicacies on her kitchen table. One of specialties was, of course, homemade gnocchi, a potato-based pasta. Gram devilishly called them “sudatches” (sp) or “rats” as she referred to them. I think her nickname was devised mostly to deter me from eating so many of them but maybe because they were small mouse-sized balls of dough, each with her distinctive thumb print in the middle.
I must admit I truly enjoy pasta but gnocchi (pronounced nyo-kee) is one of those choices I just don’t think about very often. Its not that I don’t like them, in fact I love them, but I don’t often remember how much. That is until this past weekend when I came upon a recipe in Taste of Home for Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup! I decided to make it for Sunday dinner which, at our house, is served continually all afternoon during football games. For that reason, and for my wife’s lunches the following week, I took a chance and made a double batch.
I was more than pleasantly surprised when it turned out absolutely delicious. So tasty, in fact that there was only a very little left for week-day lunches.
CREAMY CHICKEN and GNOCCHI SOUP
|2lbs boneless chicken breast||2/3 cup butter, divided||1 large onion, diced|
|4 large carrots, sliced||3 ribs of celery, diced||2 cloves garlic, diced|
|2/3 cup all purpose flour||7 cups 2% milk||3 cups heavy whipping cream|
|2 tbs chicken bouillon granules||½ tsp coarse grd black pepper||2 bags frozen gnocchi|
|1 cup fresh spinach, diced||16 ounces chicken broth||1 can cream corn (optional)|
In a Dutch oven, brown the chicken, onions, sliced carrots, celery and garlic in butter (or I use olive oil). When tender, whisk in the flour until blended. Then, gradually stir in the milk, cream, creamed corn, bouillon granules and black pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cook and stir for several minutes. Add the 2 bags of gnocchi and the spinach last then cook until spinach wilts and the gnocchi are no longer frozen. Cover and simmer until heated through (do not boil) which takes maybe another 10 minutes. We served with crushed red pepper flakes and Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning.