This post is written in partnership with Perdue.
We're entering the busy holiday season: can you feel it?
And with that comes weeknights when we want to get a healthy meal on the table for our family, but honestly just don't have the energy or bandwidth. Never fear! This Italian Gnocchi Skillet with Chicken and Pesto is a filling and protein-rich meal that literally comes together in mere minutes.
Because sometimes when the Zoom calls end and the days feel increasingly shorter, assembling a meal versus cooking it from scratch is a welcome change.
And who doesn't love classic Italian flavors and very few dishes? We can raise a glass to that any day of the week.
What Kind of Gnocchi Should I Buy?
Fun fact: Gnocchi is not pasta, but a kind of potato dumpling. It doesn't have much flavor on its own, but like pasta, it welcomes sauces like tomato sauce and pesto to really let it shine.
While potato gnocchi are the most traditional, you’ll also encounter cauliflower gnocchi in some grocery stores. Choose whichever type you like, but if the gnocchi are frozen, follow the cooking instructions on each package, as they can vary quite a bit.
Why PERDUE® SHORT CUTS® Chicken Strips?
For this supper, we're relying on PERDUE® SHORT CUTS® Carved Chicken Breast Strips to help get dinner on the table.
The fully-cooked chicken strips are juicy and tender, and we feel good about serving them to our family because Perdue raises their birds without antibiotics and they're given an all-vegetarian diet.
Bonus? Perdue has done all the work for you: the chicken is pre-roasted and cut into strips, so you have boneless, skinless chicken ready to add to just about anything.
How Do I Make an Italian Gnocchi Skillet?
Again, your mantra here is: assembling, not cooking. So gather your ingredients and a skillet and let's get going!
First, you're going to warm some store-bought gnocchi, either shelf stable from your supermarket’s refrigerated case or frozen. Instead of using several pans and boiling the gnocchi, just warm it in the skillet with a little boiling water for a few seconds.
Potato gnocchi are delicate, so you don’t want to overcook them because they will cook a little more later with the other ingredients as well.
Drain them and toss them with store-bought pesto. Add them to the skillet with the chicken, stir in some spinach and halved cherry tomatoes, and finish the skillet dish with tangy goat cheese.
Dinner is served! Leftovers? Unlikely. Buon Appetito!
Italian Gnocchi Skillet With Chicken and Pesto
Please note that this recipe calls for shelf-stable gnocchi. If you use frozen gnocchi, you'll just want to thaw according to the package instructions.
- 1 pound shelf stable potato or cauliflower gnocchi (or use frozen and thaw according to package instructions)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 (9-ounce) packages PERDUE® SHORT CUTS® ORIGINAL ROASTED CARVED CHICKEN BREAST
- 6 tablespoons store-bought pesto
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 6 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
- 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley and/or basil (for garnish, optional)
Par-cook the gnocchi:
Bring a large kettle of water to a boil. Place the gnocchi in a large skillet and pour boiling water over the top to cover.
Stir in the salt and leave the gnocchi in the water for 30 seconds.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a bowl and gently toss it with the olive oil. Let cool briefly and gently toss again with 3 tablespoons of the pesto.
Scoop out 1/2 cup of the cooking water and discard the remaining water in the pan.
Heat and assemble the rest of the dish:
Set the skillet over medium heat and add the chicken. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes, or until the chicken is warmed through. Add the spinach, and stir for 1 to 2 minutes, or until wilted.
Fold in the cherry tomatoes and 3 tablespoons of the pesto. If the mixture seems dry, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of the reserved gnocchi cooking water. Add the gnocchi, and stir very gently until the ingredients are hot.
Distribute the goat cheese over the skillet and garnish with parsley or basil if you like.