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It’s soup season! Creamy gnocchi makes for a hearty bowl

Julie Falsetti
For The York Dispatch

Like most people, I go food shopping with a list. That doesn’t mean I don’t buy things that aren’t on the list.

Maybe there is a sale I can’t resist. Sometimes things are packaged so well, they call my name. (Hello, little potatoes.) Sometimes things just jump into my cart. I will use that as the excuse for how a package of gnocchi ended up in my fridge for three weeks.

After the third comment from my husband about the gnocchi “lurking” in the back of the top shelf, I decided I needed a plan. Vacuum sealed, it was dated for use well into next year, so I had no worries on that front.

Previously, I had made sheet pan dishes, roasting the gnocchi with various vegetables. They were tasty prepared that way, but I wanted to go a different route with this batch.

Gnocchi originated in the northern region of Italy where the climate was better suited for growing potatoes than grains for pasta. They are usually served with sauce as a first course.

Despite their strangely spelled name, gnocchi (pronounced NYOW-kee) are just pillowy potato dumplings. Though it’s not a traditional Italian preparation, I thought they would be a great addition to soup.

The recipe below is very similar to the soup served at the Olive Garden, minus the chicken. I started with a simple mirepoix for the aromatics, then made a roux to create a creamy texture.

Vegetable or chicken broth is added to cook the gnocchi, and the soup is finished off with an addition of cream.

Coming together in about 30 minutes, creamy gnocchi soup makes a hearty bowl of goodness perfect for a chilly fall evening.

Creamy gnocchi soup is comfort food as the weather turns cold. The taste is similar to the soup served at the Olive Garden, minus the chicken. (Julie Falsetti photo/For The York Dispatch)

Creamy Gnocchi Soup

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 2 small stalks celery, halved lengthwise and then thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped or
  • 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 package potato gnocchi (about 16 ounces)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 handfuls fresh baby spinach
  • A few gratings of nutmeg, or 1/4 teaspoon ground
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sliced chives for garnish

In a large soup pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic, plus a pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper. Stir occasionally until the vegetables soften, about 8 minutes.

While the vegetables are cooking, use a separate pot to heat the stock and thyme to a simmer.

Add the flour to the vegetables, and stir well for 1 minute. Gradually pour in the simmering stock, stirring constantly.

The mixture will begin to thicken.

Keep stirring for about 5 minutes, then add the gnocchi. Cook for another 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium low and stir in the cream, spinach and nutmeg. Cook until the spinach has wilted. Taste for salt and pepper.

Serve hot, topped with chives.

— Julie Falsetti, a York native, comes from a long line of good cooks. Her column, From Scratch, runs twice monthly in The York Dispatch food section. Reach her with questions and comments at julietrulie11@gmail.com.