In part two of my helpful guide to what foods to eat when suffering with a cold/flu/manflu we deal with the worst stage of all: the cold sweats. In this state you have most likely moved your duvet onto the sofa where you can more comfortably feel sorry for yourself with the TV and a collection of medication within easy reach. You’ll probably want something non-challenging to watch. I like a street dance film on such occasions. Luckily there are plenty of them, and the plot is always the same, so no worries if you drop off – just make sure you’re awake for the final big competition finale.

But what if you’re feeling a bit peckish and want something equally bland and non-challenging to eat with your DVD? But both proper cooking and going to the shops seem too much effort? Well, if you have pasta and parmesan in stock (and I’m assuming if you read a food blog, you do) then I have the answer for you…

Cacio e pepe

Serves 1

I first discovered this as sick person food via Orangette, the source of many great things. Her powers of description being far superior to mine, I should probably just recommend you read her post on the subject, but should you be in need of such a simple thing I hereby present a UK-ized version of the recipe.

100g dried spaghetti
30g-ish chunk parmesan (you’re really meant to use pecorino, which is probably better, but also less likely to be in your fridge)
lots of black pepper

Cook the spaghetti in very salty boiling water.

Grate the parmesan/pecorino finely.

When the spaghetti’s done, scoop out a small amount of the pasta water in a cup. Drain the pasta, sitting the colander above the serving bowl that you will be eating the pasta from so the hot water drains into the bowl. Swill it around and empty it (this warms your serving bowl). Don’t dry the bowl, as the starchy water helps moisten the pasta.

Tip the drained pasta into your bowl.

Tip most of the grated cheese over the pasta and stir it about. If it seems dry, add a little of the reserved pasta water.

Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top and grind lots of black pepper on to finish.

Retire to sofa.

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