Looking for a dish that’s impressive but easy? Look no further.
It’s well known around here that I love a one-pan meal, especially one where the oven does all the work, but sometimes a dish is so special that it’s worth dirtying a couple of extra pans and a little effort on the stovetop. That sometimes is this Creamy Baked Chicken and Gnocchi. While it’s easy enough to be a weeknight meal, it’s so creamy and indulgent that it feels worthy of a special occasion, and the contrast of the crispy chicken skin with the pillowy gnocchi is well worth an extra stovetop step. It might not be totally “one-pan,” but it’s close enough… and it’s certainly delicious enough to warrant it.
To start, you’ll need chicken thighs. You could use breasts and adjust your baking time, but you want bone-in, skin-on chicken for this. Let it sit in some olive oil, rosemary, and garlic and soak in the goodness. Once that rests, you sear the chicken until it’s nice and golden and crisp, but you don’t need to worry about cooking it all the way through. (The oven does that for you.)
Crispy, juicy chicken is a beautiful thing, but here I think the creamy parmesan-kissed sauce steals the show. Here’s how you go about it:
Melt some butter in a skillet. Add some minced garlic and let it get fragrant, just about thirty seconds. Then, stir in some cream cheese and chicken broth and keep stirring until the cream cheese melts completely. You want the sauce to thicken but not be super thick, so let it work for just a few minutes before you stir in some gnocchi, and spinach, and season it with salt and pepper.
You place the browned chicken in a baking dish and then pour that gnocchi/spinach/cream sauce alllll around it before it heads into the oven. The gnocchi cooks through, the sauce gets bubbly, the parmesan gets nutty and golden, and the chicken settles into all that savory creamy flavor. It’s comfort food, for sure, but a little bit elevated.
Creamy Baked Chicken and Gnocchi
15m prep time
30m cook time
- 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 (17.5 oz) package pre-made gnocchi
For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
- 1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese, freshly grated and divided
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- To a medium bowl, add the chicken thighs. Add 1 tablespoon rosemary, 3 minced garlic cloves, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Cover and let rest 30 minutes.
- Once chicken is done marinating, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Starting skin side down, sear chicken until golden brown on both sides, 2-3 minutes per side. Drain and arrange in a 9x13-inch baking dish.
- Next, make the sauce:
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds.
- Stir in cream cheese, then add in cream and broth. Stirring constantly, let cook 4-5 minutes until cream cheese has melted completely. Don't cook so long that sauce thickens too much.
- Stir in gnocchi and spinach, along with half of the parmesan. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour around chicken in baking dish.
- Top with remaining parmesan and bake until sauce is bubbly, 25-30 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Eat Well 101.