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Bring 8 litres of water to a boil in a large pasta pot.
While the water is heating, heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
Add the garlic and cook until it is light brown.
Add the dried chilli and the almonds, and cook until the almonds are light golden brown, 2–3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Add 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling water. Drop the linguine into the water and cook for 1 minute less than the packet instructions indicate. Just before the pasta is done, carefully ladle 55ml of the cooking water into the pan containing the almonds.
Drain the pasta in a colander, and add it to the almond sauce.
Add the parsley and toss over medium heat for about 30 seconds, until the pasta is nicely coated.
Then remove from the heat, add half the cheese, and toss like a salad for 15 seconds. Pour into a warmed serving bowl and serve immediately with the remaining cheese on the side.
About this recipe
Mozzarella and Parmesan are rightly famous but it’s sometimes good to cook with one of Italy’s other excellent cheeses. Caciocavallo is a speciality of the south, made by repeatedly stretching and pulling raw cow’s milk curd. It comes in a distinctive gourd shape and is hung up to dry by a string tied around the neck. The almonds and red pepper flakes are also typical of Southern Italy and give this recipe its nuttiness and bite.