Creamy Gnocchi with Braised Chicken and Winter Vegetables

By • January 30, 2016 0 Comments

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Author Notes: This recipe came together after the holidays. It was an olive branch I offered to my slow transition away from holiday food: sure, I'll eat more vegetables, but only if they're sauced in cheese and tossed with pasta. It is kind of a pain with timing the veggies right since they cook at different rates, but at least it's all done in the one skillet. OK, two if you count the pan you boil the gnocchi in.


Serves 4

  • 8 ounces cremini/baby bella mushrooms
  • 2 medium parsnips
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 cup (generous) 1/2"-3/4" cubes of butternut squash (about 6 oz.)
  • 1 medium-large broccoli crown (about 6 oz.)
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 smallish skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 3/4 lb.), trimmed of excess fat
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced fresh sage
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 1 17.5 oz. package gnocchi (I used De Cecco brand)
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • chopped fresh parsley, for serving
  1. Prep all of the vegetables. You are going to add them to the pan at different times, so—except for the carrots and parsnips—keep them in separate bowls. Wash and stem the mushrooms, and pat them dry; quarter them if they are small and cut them into 6 or 8 pieces if they are large. Peel the carrots and parsnips and cut them on the diagonal into 1/3" coins. Separate the broccoli crown into bite-site florets.
  2. Heat the butter and olive oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle it on both sides with salt and pepper. When the pan is hot, add the chicken and cook until browned on both sides, flipping once, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan, place on a plate, and tent with foil.
  3. Add chopped mushrooms to the pan and cook until they release their juices and the juices have mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes total.
  4. Add the garlic and sage and stir for 30 seconds to 1 minute, just until fragrant, then pour in the wine and scrape up any brown bits. Boil for 1 minute.
  5. Return the chicken thighs and any accumulated juices to the pan, and also add the carrots, parsnips, and 1/4 cup of the chicken broth. Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover, and braise for 5 minutes. After the carrots and parsnips have cooked for 5 minutes, add the butternut squash to the pan, stir, put the lid back on, and cook for 15 more minutes. Then add the broccoli, stir, put the lid back on, and cook for 5 additional minutes.
  6. While the vegetables are braising, cook the gnocchi according to the package directions, drain, and set aside. Meanwhile, in a small measuring cup, combine the half-and-half with 3/4 cup of the chicken broth. In a different cup, whisk the flour into the remaining 1/2 cup of broth.
  7. After the broccoli has cooked for 5 minutes, remove the chicken, place it in your serving bowl, and shred it with 2 forks. Pour the half-and-half / broth mixture into the pan and also add the mascarpone cheese. Turn the heat up to medium-high and stir until smooth. When the liquid starts simmering, add the flour/broth mixture and stir until thickened. Add the whole thing to the serving bowl, dump in the gnocchi, and toss gently to coat everything evenly. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately. Top each serving with a small handful of parsley.

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