Berbere Spiced Mac n’ Cheese

The flavors of South African spices in a classic comfort food.
Created by Chef Roy Villacrusis

The basic mac and cheese gets a spicy update with the complex flavors of Berbere and balanced with the mild flavor and cooling texture of Ayib. Easily convertible to appetizer or entrée portions and can also play well as a one bite pass around that will surely wake up your taste buds.

Ayib is an Ethiopian cheese similar to cottage cheese. Berbere is an Ethiopian spice blend that unmistakably represent the flavor of Ethiopian Cuisine and culture.

Cooking spray
3 lb mild cheddar cheese, grated, reserve some for topping
2¼ cup sour cream
3 eggs
1 tsp berbere spice
Milk, optional
3 lb Barilla Cellentani Pasta
1½ lb sharp cheddar cheese, grated
¾ cup plus ½ cup fresh ayib or other fresh farmers cheese reserve some for topping
Salt, to taste
1½ cup crushed pork chicharron
  1. Cook the pasta for 6 minutes, drain and toss with a bit of oil and cool down on a sheet tray.
  2. Pre heat oven to 350F. Spray a 2 inch deep, full hotel pan 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 with pasta and distribute evenly in the baking dish.
  5. Sprinkle the reserved cheddar cheese on top.
  6. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
  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.