It’s that time of year! As the party season approaches (or maybe you’re already into it), we have to acknowledge that, for many, this means the horrors of a hangover.
Even though we like to think we’re all adults and realise we should know better, there may be an inevitable teeny, tiny slip up resulting in a tongue like a shaving brush, a head full of spanners and the rolling queasiness of a rough ferry journey.
The Japanese and Germans suggest pickled things, plums and herrings respectively. The Romanians prefer a hearty bowl of tripe soup and the Mongolians pickled sheep eyeballs in tomato juice. I’ve never been offered a Prairie Oyster by an American, but it looks like a horror story in a glass so I’m not sure I could manage it, even to be polite.
If, like Withnail, ‘even your teeth hurt’, here’s our Italian-style cure that will help you lift the boozy fog. So strap on your apron, gird your loins and get into the kitchen to sort yourself out.
Pasta aglio, olio e pepperoncini
(Pasta with garlic, olive oil and chilli)
This is a more robust version that the traditional Italian one, but to my mind, it’s what’s required. It contains the cornerstones of an effective hangover cure in one delicious, speedy bowl. Oh, and it’s absolutely delicious all year round and cheap as chips to make.
To feed 1 or 2
- A generous portion of spaghetti, fresh is fast but dried adds an extra amount of starch and bite that you might appreciate. Carbs are important here.
- A large handful of chopped flat leaf parsley. Parsley is a blood purifier.
- 1 tsp minced garlic (depending on your level of urgency either use ready minced from a jar, or squash a clove up with some sea salt using the back of a spoon on a bread board. Garlic is good for everything and helps the blood; the parsley helps nullify any potential odour.
- Peperoncini. You can either crush these tiny dried Italian chillies between your fingers or buy them ready flaked. Seek out peperoncini because these dark red carapaces are worth it but beware, they can be devilishly hot. I put in at least 3 or 4; you may want more or less. Wash your hands – you already feel bad – you don’t want to feel worse! Chillies are good for your metabolism, blood and brain.
- A generous glug of good olive oil. Fats are important for your body.
- Salt and Pepper – don’t be shy. This dish is so simple the salt really helps.
- Lots of grated parmesan. More fat and flavour.
- In a small bowl, assemble the oil, pepperoncini, garlic and salt and pepper. Mix and steep for a few minutes. (This dish will become a standby; if you always use the same bowl you can judge your quantities by eye.)
- Boil a large pan of water, add a pinch of salt. When it’s come to a rolling boil, add your pasta. Cook until al dente.
- Drain the pasta and immediately add your bowl of other ingredients; add the chopped parsley and stir.
- Serve prontisimo with lots parmesan.
Cooking time: 10 minutes