Spinach and cream linguini

At the corner of Saint-Denis and Duluth, in beautiful Montréal, there's a small Italian restaurant called Lombardi's. Diane and I used to go there when we lived on Saint-Denis. One of the pasta dishes they serve, is a spinach linguini. When we moved away from Montréal, I desperately tried to reproduce this dish. I think I got pretty close, but I have no real set recipe. So the quantities and instructions below are pretty rough.


  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed.
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped.
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped.
  • Olive oil.
  • 1 pack of frozen shredded spinach (oddly, this recipe is best with the cheap frozen stuff. Not fresh spinach).
  • 1 litre of 18% (or 15%) cream.
  • Milk (maybe, maybe not. See instructions below).
  • 1/3 cup of grated gruyere.
  • 2 slices of Swiss or Emmental cheese.
  • Chili pepper flakes.
  • Salt, pepper.


  • Ahead of time, thaw the spinach.
  • Using a large frying pan, heat up a generous quantity of olive oil. Like maybe, 1/4 cup or so.
  • Heat the pan to medium heat.
  • Place the garlic, onions and green onions in the pan.
  • Let these fry gently over medium heat. Don't let them burn. Maybe 5 minutes, maximum.
  • Add chili pepper flakes  (to taste, usually a little linch), as well as salt (not too much) and pepper (lots)
  • The secret here, is to add the cream in small bits.
  • Add about 1/2 cup of cream (no need to measure, the idea is small bits at a time).
  • Bring to almost boiling point.
  • Add another small bit of cream.
  • bring almost to boiling point.
  • Repeat until the 1 litre of cream is used up.
  • Reduce stove to low.
  • Add half of the block of spinach, in small quantities, stirring constantly.
  • Discard the other half of the spinach, or keep for another recipe.
  • Bring to a slow simmer.
  • Add the cheeses.
  • Now, depending on how the whole thing went and on exactly how much cheese you used, the sauce will be just right, or too thick or too thin. Add milk if needed, or simmer a little longer if needed. The sauce should be medium thick (not liquidy at all, but not so thick that it won't mix well with the pasta.
  • Turn everything off and cover the pan. 
  • This sauce is ideally made ahead of time. Let t sit on the stove to cool down. The flavours will mix a little more through the day. When you're ready for dinner, just warm up the sauce (nice and hot) and pour over pasta (linguini or other).