Cook the Book: Linguine with Gorgonzola and Fresh Spinach

Cook the Book: Linguine with Gorgonzola and Fresh Spinach

On Top of Spaghetti is the second cookbook by Johanne Killeen and George Germon, the owners of Al Forno in Providence, Rhode Island. I've eaten at Al Forno many times over the years, and the pastas, grilled pizza, and desserts (most are made to order, which means you have to order them before the end of the meal) are the must-haves on the menu.

So I for one eagerly awaited the publication of On Top of Spaghetti. In what is not an uncommon story in cookbook publishing, the editor who bought the book, Susan Friedland, left Morrow right before it came out. On Top of Spaghetti was left without a champion, a surefire death knell for any title—and that might be why you've never heard of it.

Today's recipe (adapted from the book) is shockingly easy to make and profoundly delicious. I made it for my wife this weekend and received major brownie points as a result. I didn't bother with the optional basil (the basil at my supermarket looked really raggedy), and the dish didn't suffer in the least.

Linguine with Gorgonzola and Fresh Spinach


  • 4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 cups firmly packed and trimmed young, fresh spinach
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 pound dried linguine or spaghetti (I used linguine)
  • 10 to 12 large fresh basil leaves (optional)


  1. 1.

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

  2. 2.

    Wash the spinach in plenty of cold water. Drain in a colander, leaving the water clinging to the leaves.

  3. 3.

    Heat the olive oil in a large straight-sided skillet over moderately high heat. Add the spinach and 1 tablespoon of the salt. Toss the spinach with tongs until it has wilted. Taste it, and add more salt if necessary. Turn off heat, but keep spinach warm on side of stove.

  4. 4.

    Generously salt the pasta water, and drop in the linguine. Cook at a rolling boil, stirring often, according to the package instructions. Drain pasta, reserving about 1 cup of cooking water. Transfer linguine to skillet, and toss with spinach. Add the Gorgonzola-butter mixture, and toss to coat each strand of the linguine. If pasta seems dry, add a bit of cooking water and toss again. Add as much of the cooking water as you need to make a creamy consistency. If you have fresh basil, tear the leaves and toss into the mixture. Serve immediately.