I can't remember the last time I made so much soup! January has been bitterly cold (although this week looks great, with temps in the 50s and low 60s!), so coming home to a pot of steaming hot soup has been wonderful and a welcome change to our usual weeknight menu.
Once again, I turned to The Skinnytaste Cookbook and chose this recipe after scanning the ingredients. Other than a sample taste of a friend's gnocchi at a restaurant last month, I've never had gnocchi. This recipe calls for a 16 oz. package, so I decided to give it a try.
Rustic Italian Gnocchi Soup
1/2 cup cold water
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup water for soup
14 oz. fresh sweet Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
4 1/2 cups Swanson 33% less sodium chicken broth
1 cup fat-free milk
1 small onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
Rind from Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)
2 large roasted red bell peppers, jarred or homemade
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1 (16-oz.) package of gnocchi
3 cups baby spinach, chopped
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving (optional)
In a small bowl, make a slurry by whisking together 1/2 cup cold water and the flour.
Heat a large nonstick pot over medium heat. Add the sausage (casings removed) and cook, using a wooden spoon to break the meat into small pieces, until cooked through and slightly browned, 4 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup water, broth, and milk and bring to boil. Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, Parmesan rind (if using), roasted peppers, and black pepper and return to a boil. Partially cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Uncover, slowly stir in the slurry, and continue stirring while the soup returns to a boil.
Add the gnocchi, spinach, and basil. Cook until the gnocchi starts to float to the top and become puffy (or according to the gnocchi package directions) and the soup thickens. Season with black pepper to taste. Discard the Parmesan cheese rind. Ladle the soup into individual soup bowls and sprinkle evenly with grated Parmesan, if desired.
I used Italian pork sausage and 2% milk. So much for skinnytaste. ;)
I cooked the sausage much longer, probably 10 minutes. Once it was cooked, I dumped it in a colander to drain off the fat (into a separate bowl) and then blotted the cooked meat with paper towels, before returning it to the soup pot.
I didn't use the Parmesan rind, although I'd like to try it next time.
I used jarred roasted bell peppers and need to remember to cut them into bite-sized pieces next time I make this soup.
Neither of us cared for the gnocchi. We decided, after removing the remaining gnocchi, to use potatoes (peeled, quartered and parboiled) for our leftovers. Much better!
I didn't bother chopping the spinach leaves.
I didn't have fresh basil, so I threw in a tablespoon of dried.
Next time around, I will use 2 stalks of celery and 2 carrots.
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