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Cheese pearl couscous with kafta and chili butter

What’s better than mac and cheese? Cheese pearl couscous, of course! With this recipe you not only get the full load of cheese with the pearly couscous, but also some juicy oven-baked Kafta meatballs and even a chili butter on top!

Pearl couscous instead of macaroni

Now quite apart from the delicious creamy sauce with lots of cheese and butter, the pearl couscous itself also offers a taste experience. The small round balls feel very special in the mouth and make the dish really exciting. It is as if many small marbles tickle your tongue.

Pearl couscous, by the way, like any other couscous, is made roughly like pasta. From durum wheat semolina and water, these balls are rolled or grated in very different grain sizes and then dried. So you can cook pearl couscous just like pasta in salted water.

A load of cheese please!

The Cheese Perlcouscous is of course not only a whole load of grated cheese, but also a good portion of butter. I know, this is absolutely not a dish that you can eat during a diet – but sometimes there are days when you just need a good portion of cheese and comfort food!

For the Cheese Perlcousous I decided to use spicy pecorino and was very inspired by the Italian classic Cacio e Pepe. To this is then added the said portion of butter and some collected cooking water from the couscous.

That alone is a divine cheese symphony, but there’s more to come on top!

Meatballs on cheese pasta!

On top of the cheesy perlcouscous are still juicy meatballs from the oven. For this I simply took the mass for the classic Levantine kebab called Kafta, formed into balls and simply put in the oven.

Kafta contains not only minced meat, but also a good portion of parsley, onion and a pinch of cinnamon. This makes the meatballs particularly aromatic and gives the cheese perlcouscous yet another flavor dimension.

If you want the dish to be vegetarian, you can of course omit the meatballs or use vegetable mince. Just be creative!

Chili butter as a crowning topping for Cheese Perlcouscous

To round out the Cheese Perlcouscous experience, I recommend spreading the chili butter over the meatballs and cosucous balls. Then you’ll get another real kick out of it!

And when you’re done with everything, of course, you can still grate as much cheese over the plates until someone says stop. Bon appetit!

Recipe for Cheese Perlcouscous with Kafta and Chili Butter

Cheese Perlcouscous mit Kafta Hackbällchen auf einem Teller serviert.
Print Recipe Rezept speichern
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 474
Author Rafik Halabi


For the pearl couscous

  • 300 g Pearl couscous
  • 30 g Butter
  • 100 g Pecorino
  • 150 ml Pasta water
  • Salt, pepper

For the butter

  • 20 g Butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chili flakes
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 Handful Parsley


  • Preheat oven to 210°C top/bottom heat.
  • Prepare kafta according to the recipe and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, grate pecorino.
  • Wash parsley, shake dry and chop.
  • Cook the pearl couscous according to the package instructions. When draining, collect some pasta water.
  • For the chili butter, melt butter in a small skillet and stir in chili and salt. Set aside.
  • Add cheese and pasta water to the perlcouscous and stir until creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Divide perlcouscous among plates. Place kafta on top of perlcouscous, drizzle with melted chili butter and garnish with parsley.


Recipe contains affiliate links.


Calories: 474kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 486mg | Potassium: 206mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 471IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 287mg | Iron: 1mg

Also be sure to try the muhammara pasta or the pasta with yogurt and minced meat.

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