This Creamy Chicken Gnocchi with Spinach has to be the ultimate comfort food! Ready in under 20 minutes this family friendly dinner is so easy to make!
Pillowy gnocchi, in a creamy garlic alfredo sauce, shredded chicken and bright spinach all finished with parmesan and plenty of black pepper. Creamy, delicious and comforting, plus quick and easy!
You can use the long-life shelf stable gnocchi that is in the pasta aisle for this recipe, grab a rotisserie chicken whilst you're there and dinner is a breeze!
Creamy Chicken Gnocchi
As the weather cools down and evenings get that fall chill, it is time for a big bowl of something warming and delicious. And that is where this Creamy Chicken Gnocchi with Spinach comes in!
The gnocchi is pillowy and light, while the rich parmesan and garlic sauce, coats the shredded chicken and makes everything taste amazing.
What chicken to use in Creamy Chicken Gnocchi
You can use any cooked chicken for this. So leftovers from your Sunday roast, a storebought rotisserie chicken, poached chicken breasts (see my easy method) or you can fry off some chicken breasts before you start the sauce.
I tend to have cooked chicken breasts on hand all the time, as it makes a great last-minute dinner item and also I can stuff it into sandwiches for an easy lunch. Or make my favorite chicken salad with it!
You can use cooked chicken breast or chicken thigh for this creamy chicken gnocchi.
Once you have your cooked chicken, it needs to be shredded or chopped into bite-sized pieces. To quickly shred chicken I use the paddle attachment on my kitchen aid. It can break down 2 chicken breasts in about 30 seconds and I don't get itchy messy fingers! (Am I the only one who gets itchy fingers when she shreds chicken?)
What is Gnocchi?
Gnocchi are small dumplings made from mashed potatoes and flour (although many other varieties exist). They are a variety of pasta and when cooked become, light, tender, fluffy pillows.
They make a hearty meal, so you need far less than you expect!
FUN FACT: Throughout Italy, the restaurant special on a Thursday is typically a gnocchi dish.
You can make gnocchi from scratch, and it is amazingly light, but for a quick midweek meal, the long life shelf-stable packages that you can buy on the pasta aisle are perfect.
They cook quickly and will keep for months in the pantry.
When you buy those packages, the gnocchi will seem hard and dense, don't worry, as you cook them they will puff up and become light and fluffy.
How to cook Gnocchi.
Just like pasta gnocchi is cooked in boiling liquid until tender.
The key is to really salt the water and bring it to a rolling boil. Once boiling add the gnocchi quickly. The gnocchi will sink to the bottom of the pan. As it cooks it will start to float. Gnocchi takes about 3-4 minutes to cook. Don't overcook it or it can become a bit gummy and chewy.
Once all of your gnocchi is floating, you can drain the gnocchi or use a slotted spoon to remove it and add it to your sauce.
You can cook the gnocchi in the sauce, but I find this can make the sauce very thick and also the texture of the gnocchi isn't quite as fluffy.
Because gnocchi doesn't take long to cook, the sauce is prepped first and left to simmer gently whilst the gnocchi is boiled.
How to make a rich creamy garlic sauce
This is creamy chicken gnocchi, so the sauce needs to be creamy and delicious!
With this easy method, you can make a deliciously creamy sauce with only ¾ of a cup of heavy cream. That is far less than many alfredo sauces!
The garlic is cooked slowly in oil and butter, until aromatic and soft, flour is then added and the mixture will turn like wet sand. This is perfect.
You then slowly whisk in chicken broth and bring the sauce to a simmer. It will thicken up. Then add in the heavy cream, parmesan, and shredded chicken. This is then all simmered gently whilst the gnocchi is cooked.
Once the gnocchi is added then the spinach is added so that it wilts in the heat of the dish but still stays fresh and green.
What to serve with Creamy Chicken Gnocchi
This is a rich creamy dish, we like to serve it with a simple side salad and some fresh bread. The bread is perfect for mopping up all the garlic cream sauce. Trust me you don't want to leave that in the bowl.
What wine to drink with Creamy Gnocchi
A rich buttery Chardonnay complements the rich creamy texture of this dish, and the hints of tropical fruits can balance the cream. Another white wine to choose would be a dry Viognier. The higher alcohol content and dry finish allow the garlic and cream to really shine through.
If you are a red lover, then try a Barbera, the acid of the red can really work well with the rich parmesan in the sauce.
For more delicious creamy pasta dishes why not try:
- Creamy Lemon Salmon Pasta
- Pan Seared Salmon with Creamy Lemon Pasta
- Creamy Chicken and Bacon Pasta
- Easy Creamy Four Cheese Pasta
- Creamy Pepper Pasta with Steak Strips
- Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce
- See all 50+ Pasta recipes
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Creamy Chicken Gnocchi with Spinach Recipe
- 4 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves - minced
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 tablespoon AP flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 2 cups cooked shredded chicken -see note 1
- 1-2 cups grated parmesan -see note 2
- 16 oz gnocchi - see note 3
- 1 cups packed fresh spinach
- salt and pepper
- Add the butter, olive oil and minced garlic to a large skillet and cook over low heat for 3-4 minutes until the garlic is soft but not colored.
- Add in the Italian seasoning and flour, stirring well.
- Slowly pour in the chicken broth and whisk to combine with the flour.
- Simmer for 5-7 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
- Once simmered add in the shredded chicken, heavy cream and grated parmesan. Allow the mixture to simmer over low heat.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to a boil. Once boiling, add 1 tablespoon of salt and then the gnocchi. Cook until the gnocchi floats to the top then drain or remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon.
- Add the drained gnocchi to the sauce, season with salt and pepper and taste. Add more seasonings as needed.
- Finally, stir through the spinach and let it wilt in the hot sauce.
- Serve with extra parmesan and black pepper.
- You can use any cooked chicken for this. So leftovers from your Sunday roast, a storebought rotisserie chicken, poached chicken breasts (see my easy method) or you can fry off some chicken breasts before you start the sauce. You can use cooked chicken breast or chicken thigh for this creamy chicken gnocchi.
- The amount of cheese will depend on how rich you like your pasta. 2 cups gives you a really cheesy dish. Feel free to use one cup of parmesan and then a cup of a milder cheese, to give you a rich but less intense sauce. (calories are worked out for 2 cups of cheese)
- The long-life packets of gnocchi come in 16oz or 17.5oz packets (450g/500g). Either will work for this dish. You can use fresh gnocchi if you are lucky enough to find it.