Thursday, December 22, 2016

Pulled Pork Macaroni and Cheese

I think I'm going to be on Santa's naughty list this year...

Look at this mac and cheese!

I don't want to make sweeping declarations on this site, buuuut...borderline best thing I've ever made? Right here: Pulled Pork Macaroni and Cheese is the answer to all of life's problems.

Let me tell you all the reasons why this dish makes me all heart-eyes-emoji. First, there is cheese. 12 ounces of cheese, to be exact. A mixture of sharp cheddar and melty, dreamy monterey jack in a homemade cream sauce. A generous portion of leftover pulled pork, most likely cooked low and slow in a Crockpot until fork tender and smokey. Barbecue sauce, a lot of it, and honestly it better be Sweet Baby Ray's because there isn't any other BBQ sauce worth eating. All of this layered between beds of al dente whole wheat pasta - and we aren't really going for "nutrition" here...I just like the toothy bite of whole wheat pasta and how it holds up so well against rich, decadent ingredients.

Now, this all seems well and good, but every masterpiece needs a cherry on top. Do you see that golden brown, crunchy topping? That's a mixture of seasoned breadcrumbs, butter and ((pause for dramatic effect)) French's crispy onions! YES - those salty, greasy nuggets of goodness that typically go on top of green bean casserole are going on top of our pulled pork mac. Heavenly!

So, if you ask me, that should all be enough to convince you to add this to your dinner menu ASAP. But if it's not, let me just add that I have had dreams about this dish. I can't get it off my mind. When we had our first bite, the hubs and I went wide-eyed, speechless, eating as much as fast as we could. You want this, you NEED this. Let's indulge :-)

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Here's what you need for Pulled Pork Macaroni and Cheese* (Print Recipe!)

1-pound box whole wheat pasta
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 8-ounce block sharp cheddar cheese, cut into cubes
4 ounces (half a block) monterey jack cheese, cut into cubes
2 cups leftover pulled pork
1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup crispy onions

Here's what you do

Cook pasta according to package instructions, draining 1 to 2 minutes before the suggested al dente time.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 glass baking dish.

In a medium pot, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add the flour and stir to create a roux. When a paste has formed, slowly whisk in the milk. Warm for about 5 minutes, allowing the milk to thicken. Add the cheese cubes and stir. Continue stirring occasionally until the cheese is completely melted. Toss the cheese sauce with the cooked pasta.

Pour half the pasta into the bottom of the prepared casserole dish. Evenly spread the pulled pork all over the top of the pasta. Repeat with the BBQ sauce. Top with the remaining pasta and smooth out the top.

In a small bowl, combined the melted butter, breadcrumbs, and onions. Sprinkle all over the top of the casserole. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and the top is golden brown. Allow to rest about 5 minutes before serving.

*Gas Stove Girl original recipe

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