He’s baaaaaa-aaaaack! This time next week we’ll have witnessed scruffy Oz-Probst – and my dear friend – Jonathan LaPaglia snuff his first torch of the season. And I will have screamed for smelling salts as the euphoria/orgasm rendered me unconscious.
Yes – that is the long winded way of saying Australian Survivor is back and I couldn’t be happier to announce that once again JoJo requested my presence in Samoa to act as his houseboy / culinary comfort chef for the castaways.
I’ve known Jo for years, after a chance meeting at the University of Adelaide where I was skulking about the med school trying to meet a future doctor to take as my husband. While he had zero interest in pursuing a relationship due to our similar appearance (read: killer guns), we became friends against all odds and I was quickly taken into the LaPaglia family.
While there was a period of ugliness after Anthony refused to get Josie Alibrandi gender-flipped – and that time I tried to torch his car when I was overlooked for the hosting role – we remain the closest of friends and I was thrilled to spend two months together in Samoa, catching-up, feasting in front of the contestants … and I assume doing weights.
To celebrate the impending return of Australian Survivor, I flew Jojo over to discuss how we felt the season went – really good … unless the editors really drop the ball / can’t be paid by Channel 10 – over a big fat bowl of my Jonathan LaPagliatelle.
I’ve long held the belief that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – I actually coined the phrase, NBD – and this is the first dish I ever made him to win him over. Warm, fresh, creamy and tasty, it is the second most fun I’ve had getting sauce over a man’s face.
bunch of shallots, sliced
5 garlic cloves, minced
200g button mushrooms, sliced
5 sprigs of thyme leaves
250g chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste
200g baby spinach, washed and drained
100g parmesan, grated
Heat a good lug of oil in a large pan over medium heat and cook off the shallots and garlic until the island love nest – or kitchen – is aromatic. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook for a further ten minutes, or until the mushrooms are lightly browned.
Add the stock and bring to the boil, before reducing the heat and simmering for fifteen minutes. Season and keep warm while you cook the pasta as per packet instructions.
When the pasta is al dente, add the mascarpone and spinach to the the mushroom mix and stir until combined and the spinach wilted. Stir through the pasta and half the parmesan, before serving, generously drowned in the excess parmesan.
Devour immediately with your big strong, LaPagli-esque arms and think of how they’d hold you tight in winter. Or something.