Teff Tagliatelle with Niter Kibbeh

In traditional Ethiopian niter kebbeh (spiced clarified butter), whole spices, like nigella, coriander, and cardamom, are bloomed in clarified butter, or ghee, and then strained; here, chef Yohanis Gebreyesus leaves the toasted spices in to add texture to this simple but luxurious sauce for pasta made with earthy, fragrant teff . Don't skip on resting the dough—it prevents the pasta from cracking apart when rolling and boiling.

Teff Tagliatelle with Niter Kibbeh
Photo: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell
Active Time:
40 mins
Refrigerate Time:
4 hrs
Total Time:
5 hrs 10 mins
4 to 6



  • 1 ¼ cups teff flour (about 6 ounces)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4 1/4 ounces), plus more for dusting

  • 3 large eggs

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4 quart water

  • ¼ cup kosher salt, plus more to taste

Niter Kibbeh

  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds

  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom seeds

  • 1 cup ghee (about 8 ounces)

  • ½ teaspoon nigella seeds, plus more for garnish

  • ½ teaspoon dried basil or holy basil

  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano

  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme

  • Finely grated Parmesan cheese or flaky sea salt, for garnish (optional)


Make the pasta

  1. Combine teff flour and all-purpose flour on a clean work surface. Form a 5-inch well in center; add eggs and olive oil. Using a fork, beat eggs and oil until combined; gradually incorporate flour from inner edges of well into wet ingredients until a smooth batter forms. Once dough is too stiff to mix with fork, use hands to work in remaining flour to form a shaggy ball. Knead dough until smooth and supple, about 6 minutes. Wrap dough ball tightly with plastic wrap, and chill at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours.

Make the niter kibbeh

  1. Grind coriander and cardamom seeds in a mortar and pestle until finely ground. Combine coriander-cardamom mixture, ghee, and nigella seeds in a small saucepan. Cook over low, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 6 to 10 minutes. Stir in basil, oregano, and thyme. Cook, stirring often, until mixture is lightly golden and a small amount of foam forms on top, about 2 minutes. Pour mixture into a small bowl, and set aside.

  2. Remove dough from refrigerator, and unwrap. Cover dough with a kitchen towel, and let rest at room temperature 30 minutes. Divide dough ball into 4 equal pieces. Working with 1 dough piece at a time, keeping remaining dough pieces covered, transfer to a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 13-inch square; dust both sides with all-purpose flour. Using a knife, cut dough into 1/4-inch-wide ribbons. Transfer pasta to a baking sheet lined with a lightly floured towel; cover loosely with plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining dough balls.

  3. Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot over medium-high. Stir in kosher salt, and return to a boil. Add pasta, and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent clumping, until al dente, about 2 minutes. Using a spider or large mesh strainer, transfer pasta to a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup niter kibbeh, or more to taste, and gently toss to coat, adding pasta cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed to thin sauce. Season with kosher salt to taste. Transfer pasta to a large platter or serving bowls. Garnish with nigella seeds. Sprinkle with Parmesan or flaky sea salt, if desired. Serve immediately. Reserve remaining niter kibbeh for another use. 

Make ahead

Niter kibbeh can be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.


Find nigella seeds at South Asian grocery stores or online.

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