Monday, June 24, 2013

recipe: chicken, mushrooms, + gnocchi in a gorgonzola sauce

I had gnocchi for the first time a couple of months ago while out at dinner and loved it! When I discover new foods or try a something I really enjoy I like to recreate the dish at home, as long as it isn't too complicated. So far my attempts have been pretty successful and after trying gnocchi I knew if I couldn't mimic the meal I at least wanted to find a good recipe I could make on occasion.

The gnocchi dish I had while out was roasted chicken on a bed of rosemary gnocchi, mushrooms, and spinach. My first attempt at the dish - not bad, but not quite there, a little on the dry side. My second attempt followed an online recipe that involved a gorgonzola sauce, which sounded like a good solution to the dry gnocchi, but it was too bold and cheesy. I decided to alter that recipe for my third attempt and I nailed it. So below you will find the final recipe, which Jason has told me is "The best thing you have ever cooked." Enjoy!

1 pound of chicken breasts, diced into 1 inch cubes {Raw, canned, or pre-cooked all work}
1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 oz. of shiitake mushrooms, chopped
dash of marjoram {if you don't have this on hand you can leave it out}
dash of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons of olive oil (for the pan)
1/3 cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken broth
 4-5 oz. gorgonzola cheese
1lb of homemade or store bought gnocchi {easily serves 2-3}
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped

1. Begin boiling a pot of water for your gnocchi.
2. Combine ingredients from garlic down to the red pepper flakes from the list above into a large bowl and mix, thoroughly distributing the spices.
3. In a large pan, bring two tablespoons of olive oil to a simmer.
4. Add half of the combined ingredients, then layer your chicken over it, followed by the other half of the combined ingredients on top. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally if you're using any kind of pre-cooked chicken.
5. Add the white wine to the pan and let it simmer, then add the chicken broth and gorgonzola cheese.
6. In the meantime, place the gnocchi in the boiling water and allow it to cook, usually 4 minutes or so, until it rises to the top of the pot.
7. Add the chopped spinach to the chicken and gorgonzola pan. 
7. When the gnocchi is finished strain it and add to the pan.
8. Mix everything together, coating the gnocchi in the sauce, and let it cook for a few more minutes to completely melt all the cheese and slightly thicken the sauce.
9. Grab a few bowls, serve, and enjoy!

Tips, tricks, & shortcuts:
*I cheat and do not usually use raw chicken. I'm tired after work most nights and don't want to monitor food for any longer than I have too. So, what do I use? I pick up a rotisserie chicken and cube the needed amount then follow the rest of the recipe above. It works perfectly and saves time. You can also buy canned chicken breast.
*I recommend no more than 6 oz. of gorgonzola cheese. It's a bold, strong cheese and the first time I was using a recipe that called for 8oz. and it was not terrible, but it was too much. I probably use about 5oz. on average and it's perfect for us. If it's a little too strong for you - add a little more chicken broth and white wine.
*1 pound of gnocchi is great for two people, and can serve up to three. 2 pounds should easily serve 4-5 easily but I do recommend increasing your white wine, chicken broth, and gorgonzola slightly to accommodate the extra pasta.

Do you have any gnocchi dishes that you love? Please share in the comments below! So far, this is my favorite dish I've used it for and would love to try more. And if you try this recipe - please let me know what you think!

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