Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Italian Chicken and Dumplings

I have to start off by saying the photo of this dish doesn't do it justice. I am not a professional photographer, but I think even Ansel Adams would fail to capture just how delicious this meal is. It's not that pretty, but it tastes so amazing that it will make up for it a hundred times over.

Imagine the flavor of chicken pot pie, or a rich chicken soup, combined with a subtle pesto, a hint of lemon, and delicious pillows of gnocchi. That is what we have here. I can't sing its praises enough. This dish definitely passed the husband test.

Italian Chicken and Dumplings
adapted from Rachael Ray's "Big Orange Book"
serves 2-3


2 tablespoons EVOO
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
handful fresh parsley leaves
handful of pine nuts, toasted and cooled
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
3/4 pound of chicken tenders, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup shredded carrots
3 celery stalks, very thinly sliced
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 package fresh whole wheat gnocchi


1. Make the pesto first: In a food processor, combine basil, parsley, pine nuts, cheese, salt and pepper to taste, with 1/4 cup chicken stock. Process until smooth, and stream in 1 tablespoon EVOO while the processor is running. Set aside.

2. Heat a pot with 1/2 tablespoon EVOO over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside. Add another 1/2 tablespoon EVOO and 1 tablespoon butter to the pan. When the butter melts, add carrots, celery, onion and bay leaf. Season with pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, until softened.

3. Sprinkle flour over the veggies and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in 1 1/4 cups of chicken stock, and return chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan. Simmer until sauce has thickened and chicken is cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.

4. While the sauce is simmering, bring a pot of water to a boil and salt it. Add gnocchi and cook until they float to the top of the pot, about 3-4 minutes. Drain.

5. While sauce is simmering and gnocchi is cooking, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a skillet. Stir in the lemon zest. When gnocchi is done, toss it in the lemon butter sauce in the skillet until golden brown on the edges.

6. Before serving, turn off the heat under the chicken and stir in the pesto. Serve chicken and sauce topped with gnocchi.

Yes, there seems to be a lot involved here, but just be methodical about it and you'll do fine. It's worth the effort, I promise. Enjoy!


  1. It sounds delicious - lucky husband!

  2. Wow, this sounds wonderful. I must try it. Just stumbled upon your blog. You have some great stuff here! Lucky guy, your husband!

  3. Thanks, Donna! It truly was delicious, I recommend it.