Chicken Bacon Gnocchi Minestrone

Being a huge fan of soup, I’m always looking for creative ways to put my own spin on some of my favorites. A few weeks back, I was torn between making a minestrone or a chicken, potato and vegetable type stew. This turned out to be the perfect compromise ... making a chicken minestrone and adding gnocchi to satisfy my potato craving. And, of course, no meal is complete without bacon, so I made sure to incorporate that into the recipe, as well. The result … one of the most flavorful and filling soups I have ever had. But, if you're not as big a fan of gnocchi as I am, you may use any type of rotini or penne type pasta in its place.

6 strips bacon, sliced into 1-inch pieces
1-1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp. dried oregano
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 small red bell pepper
1 small yellow bell pepper
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
3-4 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup diced onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
1 - 14-1/2-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 - 15-1/2-oz. can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 - 16-oz. package potato gnocchi
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese

In a Dutch oven, cook bacon until lightly crispy. Cut chicken into cubes and sprinkle with oregano. Sauté the chicken with the bacon and 1-1/2 Tbsp. olive oil until no longer pink. Remove the chicken and bacon and set aside. In the same pan, cook the red and yellow pepper, carrots, celery and onion in the remaining oil until tender. Add the garlic and cook one minute longer. Mix in the broth, tomatoes, beans and chicken. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi according to package directions. Drain and stir into the soup. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Garnish each serving with cheese.


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