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Pan Fried Gnocchi with Basil Cream Sauce and Grilled Chicken

6 October 2020

Although we’re already in autumn heading for winte, our basil plants are still growing as if it’s summer. I’m sure it will stop soon so to make the most of this tasty herb I wanted to try something different than pesto.

In a cast iron skillet I started by grilling a chicken thigh, in the same first I made creamy sauce with chopped onion and garlic, a little roux, 1 cup of chicken stock and 1/2 cup of creme fraiche. I added the torn basil leaves as I would with spinach. The leaves wilted lovely and a glossy, keeping the flavour of fresh basil. Add some lemon zest and you’ve got a yummy sauce!.

I still had some asaragus and mushrooms left in the fridge, both were a perfect match witht the rest of the ingredients.

The gnocchi I panfried in a non stick pan in some olive oil, seasoned only with pepper and salt. I love how the gnocchi gets all crispy and chewy on the outside while staying soft and fluffy on the inside!

Pan Fried Gnocchi with Basil Cream Sauce and Grilled Chicken

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Dinner Italian
By Saffron Serves: 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 35 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes

A different way of using up your leftover basil leaves: Creamy basil sauce with crunchy gnocchi and grilled chicken and veggies.


  • Gnocchi
  • 1 packet dried or fresh gnocchi
  • Grilled Chicken & Veggies
  • 1 boneless chicken thigh, no skin
  • 150 g asparagus
  • 150 g chestnut mushroom
  • (or any veggies of choice)
  • Creamy Basil Sauce
  • 1 glug olive oil
  • 1 big handful of basil, half torn, half left whole
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup creme fraîche
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon


Pan fried Gnocchi


Add drop of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and add a packet of dried gnocchi.


Season with pepper and salt and fry the gnocchi on a medium to low heat until browned.


If using dried gnocchi, this will take ± 20-30 minutes. Fresh gnocchi will need ±15 - 20 minutes,


In the meantime you can make the rest of the dish.

Grilled Chicken Thigh


Season 1 -2 chicken thighs with pepper and salt, leave them whole.


In a (cast iron) skillet add a drop of olive oil and when hot add the chicken.


Grill on high heat until starting to char on all sides (± 5 minutes) then turn the heat down to medium.


The chicken will take ± another 20 minutes to cook through, turning occasionally.


The last 15 minutes place the chicken on the side of the pan to make some room.


Add a drop of olive oil to the middle and add the mushrooms, without moving them let them sauté on medium heat 1 side to caramelize, ± 4 minutes. It's important not to move them around or they will release moisture and steam instead of crisping up.


Turn them around making sure the other sides of the mushrooms are now touching the surface of the pan. Let them sauté again without moving them around, ± 4 minutes.


Remove from pan, set aside and add the asparagus. Sauté ± 5 minutes on high heat. When done, remove from pan and set aside.


When chicken is done remove from pan and wrap well in aluminium foil to let it rest and keep warm.

The sauce


In the same skillet sauté a chopped onion, after a minute add 2-3 sliced garlic cloves, scraping the chicken goodness from the bottom of the pan.


When translucent and fragrant add a tablespoon of flour and stir through for a minute.


When flour has been absorbed by the pan juices add a cup of chicken stock and stir through making sure there are no lumps.


Add 1/2 cup of creme fraîche and stir through until dissolved.


Add the basil and stir through letting it wilt and being covered by the creamy sauce.


Slice the chicken and add this together with the vegetables to the sauce. Serve with the crispy gnocchi.


Optional: grate some lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon through the sauce just before serving.


Tip: I always pan fry, roast, grill, braise or stew my chicken thighs or breasts whole and slice it just before serving. This way you keep the chicken nice and juicy, keeping all the flavours in.

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