This chicken and gnocchi with creamy truffle sauce tastes like a dish from a fancy restaurant. The pillowy gnocchi and creamy spinach mushroom sauce are like a match made in comfort-food heaven.
But the real star here is the truffle oil – it takes this dish to the next level with its earthy and complex flavor. This recipe is easy to make and perfect for a special occasion or even just a cozy night in.
What is Gnocchi
Gnocchi (singular: gnoccho) commonly refers to a type of Italian pasta made of potato, flour, egg, and salt. But gnocchi actually are potato dumplings. When properly cooked, they have a light and squishy texture.
Although gnocchi is said to have originated in Italy, it is now prepared and enjoyed in a variety of ways all over the world. And this dumpling's shape, ingredients, and name may vary by region.
How is Gnocchi Pronounced
Gnocchi is pronounced nyohk-kee (the letter "G" is not pronounced). You can hear the pronunciation here.
Cavatelli vs Gnocchi
Because of their shape and ridges, cavatelli and gnocchi can appear similar. However, they are made from different ingredients and have slightly different flavors and textures.
Cavatelli is one of the oldest pasta types, made from a dough that is typically made from semolina flour and water (though some recipes also include ricotta cheese). Gnocchi, on the other hand, are potato dumplings made from potatoes, flour, egg, and salt.
In terms of texture, gnocchi has a softer, more pillowy texture, while cavatelli has a slightly chewier texture.
What is a Truffle
Truffle is a kind of edible fungi that grows underground. It is a popular ingredient in fine dining food and has a rich, umami taste.
Truffles and truffle-containing products, such as truffle oil, truffle salt, and truffle cheese, are commonly used as finishing ingredients. These are used in small amounts since the flavor is strong and can easily overpower all of the dish's other components.
Fresh truffles are difficult to find and can be highly expensive due to the difficulty of growing and harvesting them, as well as their limited shelf life.
Given the limited availability of truffles, this recipe calls for just some truffle oil, which can be easily found in stores or online. It is not super affordable but much much cheaper than buying fresh truffles. I got mine from a Homesense store here in Calgary.
White vs Black Truffle
- These are two different kinds of truffles, with distinct appearances and flavors.
- White truffles are lighter in color than black truffles and have a more delicate and earthy aroma. Black truffles have a stronger, more pungent flavor.
- White truffles are usually more costly and sought-after than black truffles.
- While black truffles can be used as an ingredient in cooking, white truffles are best served as a garnish on top of a neutral-tasting dish, allowing them to shine.
What is Chicken and Gnocchi With Creamy Truffle Sauce
Chicken and gnocchi with creamy truffle sauce is a delicious and satisfying meal that will have you licking your plate clean.
Tender chicken, soft gnocchi, and a rich sauce made with cream cheese, parmesan cheese, and coconut milk combine to create a mouthwatering dish. The truffle oil adds a gourmet touch, and the addition of mushrooms and spinach gives the dish added depth and flavor.
Whether you're hosting a dinner party or looking for a tasty weeknight meal, chicken and gnocchi with creamy truffle sauce is sure to hit the spot.
Here are some helpful notes on the ingredients you need to make chicken and gnocchi with creamy truffle sauce. See the recipe card down below for the quantities of these ingredients.
You can use any type of gnocchi that you prefer or that is available to you. Some common varieties of gnocchi include potato gnocchi, ricotta gnocchi, spinach gnocchi, whole wheat gnocchi, and semolina gnocchi. For this recipe, I used Olivieri's skillet gnocchi that I got from my local Costco.
You can find these and other varieties of gnocchi at most grocery stores, often in the pasta, refrigerator, or international foods section. Some specialty food stores may also carry a wider selection of gnocchi varieties.
To prepare the gnocchi for this recipe, simply cook it according to the instructions on the package. Most types of gnocchi can be cooked by boiling them in salted water for a few minutes until they float to the surface.
The type of gnocchi I used is skillet gnocchi which is cooked in the skillet for a few minutes until it is lightly browned on the outside. Both gnocchi varieties work equally well for this recipe.
To get the chicken ready for this recipe, cut it into bite-sized pieces. You can use either boneless, skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts - just make sure each piece is about 1 to 2 inches in size. The chicken should be at room temperature for even and consistent cooking.
I prefer using olive oil in this recipe, however, you can use any neutral-flavored oil, such as canola oil, vegetable oil, or avocado oil, in its place.
To add a little buttery flavor to the recipe, you can also use a combination of half butter and half olive oil.
To ensure that the onion cooks evenly and quickly, be sure to slice it thinly. If you don't have onions on hand, shallots make a great substitute.
Use finely chopped or minced garlic. Or use a mortar and pestle to crush the garlic cloves into a paste.
You can also use jarred puréed garlic (garlic paste), commonly found in Indian stores, as a substitute.
On a side note, if you often use fresh garlic, you may want to check out this post on the different ways to peel it. I tested out various methods to find out the easiest one.
Canned Coconut Milk
You will need canned coconut milk, not the diluted version that is sold in cartons and marketed as a coconut blend or coconut beverage. When shopping for canned coconut milk, always check the ingredients list on the can.
Avoid brands that have added preservatives, stabilizers, or other artificial ingredients, as these can affect the flavor and consistency of the milk. The fewer the ingredients, the better. Also, look for a higher percentage/concentration of coconut milk.
Cut the cream cheese into small cubes and set it aside at room temperature so that it softens a bit. This will allow the cream cheese to dissolve quickly when you add it to the sauce.
Use unsalted or low-sodium chicken broth or stock. If you don't have any on hand, you can use water instead. However, do not use chicken bouillon powder or cubes as they can alter the balance of salt in the recipe.
Chop the baby spinach into smaller pieces. You can also use regular spinach instead.
You can use fresh white mushrooms (button mushrooms) or brown mushrooms (cremini mushrooms). Slice up the mushrooms before use.
Canned mushrooms are not a good choice for this recipe as you won't get the same texture and flavor that comes from fresh ones.
I use freshly grated parmesan in this recipe, but you can also use store-bought pre-grated parmesan if you prefer. Freshly grated parmesan has a slightly strong and sharp flavor, while pre-grated parmesan has a slightly milder flavor. Both are fine and can be used interchangeably in this recipe.
If you don't have parmesan cheese, there are a couple of substitutes that you can use in its place. One option is to grate and use grana padano, which is a similar type of hard, salty Italian cheese. Other substitutes include pecorino romano and asiago.
Truffle oil is a type of oil that is infused with the flavor of truffles. It is often used to add a rich, earthy flavor to dishes, and is a common ingredient in truffle-based recipes.
There are two main types of truffle oil: black truffle oil and white truffle oil. While you can use either of these, I prefer black truffle oil as it is better suited for cooking.
When using truffle oil, be sure to use it sparingly, as a little goes a long way.
It is not a good idea to substitute truffle salt for truffle oil in this recipe. Truffle salt has a stronger, saltier flavor than truffle oil, and using it in place of truffle oil will change the flavor and saltiness of the dish.
Use fresh or bottled lemon or lime juice. Fresh is always better, though.
You only need a small amount of chopped cilantro/coriander to use as a garnish.
Spices and Seasonings
- Dried Italian seasoning - or use equal amounts of dried oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary to make your own homemade Italian seasoning and use that instead
- Ground white pepper
- Ground black pepper
- Ground cumin
- Crushed red pepper flakes
Instructions (Step-by-Step Photos)
To make chicken and gnocchi with creamy truffle sauce, follow these easy, photo-assisted instructions. Be sure to check out the recipe card below for the printable version of this recipe, which includes detailed instructions and all the important tips and notes.
In a bowl, combine all the spices and seasonings.
Cook the gnocchi according to the package instructions. The skillet gnocchi I use is cooked by pan-frying. Once cooked, set it aside.
In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant and the onion has softened slightly.
Add the chicken to the skillet.
Also, add the seasoning mix that you prepared earlier.
Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until the chicken has changed color to white.
Then add the chicken broth.
Add the canned coconut milk.
Also, add the cubed pieces of cream cheese. Stir until the cheese completely dissolves and the sauce thickens a little.
Add spinach and sliced mushrooms.
And add grated parmesan cheese. Give everything a good mix and cook for 2-4 minutes or until the spinach wilts slightly.
Then add the cooked gnocchi and cook for a couple of minutes more.
Turn off the heat and stir in the truffle oil and lemon juice.
Garnish with cilantro and serve.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
It can be, if you're using gluten-free gnocchi. Most types of gnocchi contain gluten as they contain wheat flour or semolina. So it is always a good idea to check the labels of all the ingredients you are using to make sure they are gluten-free.
Yes, you can skip the truffle oil in this recipe if you don't have it or can't find it. While truffle oil adds a unique and rich flavor, the dish will still be delicious without it.
You can enjoy gnocchi with a variety of different sauces, toppings, and ingredients. Popular choices include tomato sauce, pesto sauce, and alfredo sauce. Gnocchi can also be cooked with shrimp, beef, or pork, as well as vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, or bell peppers. The possibilities are endless, so feel free to experiment with different combinations and see what you like best.
Yes. The recipe should work well with shrimp or sausage.
If you are using sausage, you can cook its chunks/pieces in the skillet with the onion and garlic, using the same method as you would for cooking the chicken.
However, if you are using shrimp, you will need to cook the shrimp separately from the sauce to prevent the shrimp from getting overcooked. To do this, heat some oil in a separate skillet over medium heat and add the shrimp. Cook the shrimp for 2-3 minutes, or until it is pink and cooked through. Then add the cooked shrimp to the skillet at the same time as the cooked gnocchi.
Tips for Recipe Success
- Use high-quality, full-fat canned coconut milk for the best flavor and consistency.
- If you're not used to the flavor of the truffle, start by using half the amount of truffle oil called for in the recipe. You can always add more if you want to, but it's best to test out your preference first.
- To prevent the gnocchi from becoming mushy, be careful not to let the dish simmer for too long after adding the gnocchi to the sauce.
- If the sauce gets too thick for your liking, add a little chicken broth to adjust the consistency.
Scaling the Recipe
To scale up this recipe, simply adjust the number of servings using the + sign on the recipe card down below. The quantities of ingredients will automatically adjust according to the new serving size.
When scaling up this recipe, it's important to be careful with the amount of truffle oil you use. Instead of using the full amount mentioned in the recipe, gradually increase it and taste as you go to ensure that you do not overpower the dish with its flavor.
Additionally, avoid overcrowding the skillet, which can lead to uneven cooking. Cook in batches, if needed.
Making Ahead, Storage, and Reheating
You can make this recipe up to 2-3 days in advance of when you plan to serve it.
To store it, let it cool completely, then transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
When you are ready to serve, gently reheat the dish in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. You may need to add a little bit of water or chicken broth to the dish to thin out the sauce if it has thickened too much during storage.
- You can replace the gnocchi in this recipe with cavatelli or other types of pasta like farfalle, fusilli, or penne. Be sure to follow the instructions on the pasta package when preparing it.
- To make this recipe even more flavorful and colorful, try adding bell peppers or zucchini. You can also add other leafy greens like baby kale.
- You can substitute the chicken in this recipe with shrimp or sausage. See the related question in the FAQs section above for tips on how to cook these replacements.
- Serve this dish with a slice of toasted garlic bread or a side of crusty bread to soak up the sauce.
- Pair it with a simple side dish, such as a green vegetable like asparagus or broccoli.
- Top the dish with additional parmesan cheese or fresh herbs for added flavor and color.
Check out these posts — they might be of interest to you!
- 1 pound (454 g) uncooked gnocchi - any variety of your choice. See Note 1
- 1 pound (454 g) boneless, skinless chicken - thighs or breasts cut into 1-2 inch bite size pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil - or any other cooking oil of your choice
- ¼ cup (40 g) onion, thinly sliced - that is around a quarter of a large onion. See Note 2
- 4 cloves (2 teaspoon) garlic, minced or finely chopped - around 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
- 1 cup (237 ml) canned coconut milk - see Note 3
- 2 ounces (57 g) cream cheese, cubed
- ½ cup (118 ml) unsalted or low-sodium chicken broth - or use water instead
- 3 heaping cups (90 g) baby spinach, roughly chopped - or use regular spinach
- 6 ounces (170 g) fresh mushrooms, sliced - white (button) or brown (cremini) mushrooms.
- ½ cup (40 g) grated parmesan - see Note 4
- 1 teaspoon truffle oil, black or white
- 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro/coriander
Spices and Seasonings
- 1 teaspoon dried italian seasoning - see Note 5
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes - add more if you like some heat
- ¼ teaspoon salt - add more or less to taste
- To make the seasoning mix, combine the dried Italian seasoning, ground white pepper, ground black pepper, ground cumin, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
- Cook the gnocchi according to package instructions. Gnocchi is typically cooked by boiling or pan-frying, depending on the type being used. Once cooked, set it aside.
- In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant and the onion is softened.
- Add the chicken and the prepared seasoning mix to the skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until the chicken is cooked through and changes color to white.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the coconut milk, chicken broth, and cream cheese to the skillet. Allow the cream cheese to melt, stirring frequently to prevent the sauce from sticking to the pan.
- When the sauce is smooth and creamy, add the chopped spinach, sliced mushrooms, and parmesan. Cook for 2-4 minutes, or until the spinach has wilted slightly.
- Add the cooked gnocchi to the skillet and stir to combine.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the truffle oil and lemon juice. Garnish with cilantro/coriander and serve.
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