Berbere Spiced Mac N’ Cheese

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Credit: Chef Roy Villacrusis, Asiatic Culinary
National Culinary Review, January/February 2024

From the Chef

“Classic mac n’ cheese gets a spicy update with the complex flavors of berbere spice and balanced with the mild flavor and cooling texture of ayib, an Ethiopian cheese similar to cottage cheese. Berbere is an Ethiopian spice blend that unmistakably represent the flavor of Ethiopian Cuisine and culture.”


1 pound Barilla Cellentani pasta
Salt, to taste, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon berbere spice, plus more for garnish
1 pound mild cheddar cheese, grated, reserve some for topping
½ pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
¾ cup sour cream
¾ cup plus ½ cup fresh Ayib, plus more for garnish
1 egg
Milk, as needed
½ cup crushed pork chicharron


1. Cook the Barilla? Cellentani Pasta according to box instruction. Season with berbere and salt to taste.
2. Preheat oven to 350?F. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
3. Mix mild cheddar, sharp cheddar, sour cream ayib, and egg. Season with berbere and salt to taste. A dash of milk for creamier consistency.
4. Mix in the drained pasta and distribute evenly in the baking dish.
5. Sprinkle the reserved cheddar cheese on top.
6. Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, until cheese are bubbling and melted.
7. Season pork chicharron with berbere and salt.
8. Spoon on individual serving being careful to keep a crust on top of each portions.
9. Sprinkle seasoned pork chicharron on top.
10. Top with more ayib and berbere as desired.


Makes 24 servings


Main Dish, Pasta, The National Culinary Review

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