In a large stockpot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, onion, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion starts to become translucent (5-7 minutes).
Add the chicken stock, salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until vegetables have softened.
While the veggies are cooking, start the dumplings. In a bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, and baking soda. Mix in the ricotta cheese and egg to form a lumpy, thick batter.
After the vegetables have softened, drop tablespoonfuls of the dumpling batter into the soup. Cook until the dumplings float to the surface (about 5 minutes), then add the chicken and cook for an additional few minutes.
Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.