Friday, January 25, 2013

pulled pork mac & cheese


I've always had a thing for mac and cheese or really anything cheesy for that matter. So when the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board asked to create a mac and cheese recipe inspired by a classic dish, the first thing that came to mind was a grilled cheese sandwich. Because, well, it doesn’t get any more classic than a grilled cheese!
This mac and cheese is inspired by one of my favorite grilled cheese sandwiches (from a local Charlotte restaurant), that layers tender pulled pork, cheddar cheese, gruyere cheese and onions between two pieces of buttery Texas toast. Pork and cheese are rarely paired together making this dish such a treat. The pasta is undercooked initially and then baked with caramelized onions, Gruyere/Cheddar cheese sauce, pulled pork, and Texas toast crumbles until it is perfectly creamy and warm. 

Check out the 30 Days 30 Ways Mac & Cheese blog for the next month to see what mac and cheese creations other participating food bloggers came up with. I know I can't wait to try this Pancetta Mac & Cheese Panini.

And check out the breakfast mac and cheese I created for the mac and cheese blog last year!
Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese
Serves 6
Ingredients:
12 ounces dried pasta (I used pasta shells)
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons barbeque sauce
3 cups (12 ounces) Wisconsin Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
1 cup (4 ounces) Wisconsin Gruyere Cheese, grated
One 2 lb smoked pork shoulder, pulled (store bought or homemade*)
4 pieces of Texas toast, baked according to package and crumbled
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. 
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 6 minutes for shells. Drain and set aside. 
Heat a large pot over medium-low heat. Add 3 tablespoons of butter, olive oil, onions, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden brown in color and caramelized. Increase heat to medium and stir the flour and 1 tbsp of butter into the onions and whisk constantly for 2-3 minutes to create a roux. Add in milk and barbeque sauce, whisking constantly, and stir for another 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Reduce heat to medium-low and add in grated cheese. Continue to stir until sauce is creamy and cheese has melted. Stir in shells and then pulled pork. Transfer mac and cheese to an oven safe baking dish and sprinkle with Texas toast crumbles. Bake for 15 minutes or until light golden brown. 

*To make the pork at home, put the seasoned pork in a large roasting pan and cover with foil. Roast the pork at 300°F until the meat is falling off the bone, about 5 to 6 hours. Cool until warm enough to handle, about 1 hour. Once cooled, shred the pork by hand into 2 inch pieces.  
To reheat this dish, just add a few tablespoons of milk and stir. 

Disclaimer: this recipe was developed by me for Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board , all opinions are my own.  

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