Featured Wisconsin Cheeses: Aged Cheddar, Gruyere
I’ve always had a thing for mac and cheese or really anything cheesy for that matter. So when I was 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 grilled cheese!
This mac and cheese is inspired by one of my favorite grilled cheese sandwiches that layers tender pulled pork, Wisconsin Cheddar and Gruyere Cheese and onions between two pieces of buttery Texas toast. Pork and cheese are rarely paired together making this dish such a treat. For the mac and cheese, the pasta is undercooked initially and then baked with caramelized onions, cheese sauce, pork, and Texas toast crumbles until it is perfectly creamy and warm.
Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese
12 ounces dried pasta (I used pasta shells)
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 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 Aged Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 cup (4 ounces) Wisconsin Gruyere Cheese, shredded
2 pounds smoked pork shoulder, pulled (store bought or homemade*)
4 pieces Texas toast, cooked according to package and crumbled
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Heat large pot over medium-low heat. Add 3 tablespoons butter, olive oil, onion, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Cook 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are golden brown in color and caramelized. Increase heat to medium and stir in flour and remaining butter; whisk constantly for 2-3 minutes to create a roux.
Add milk and barbeque sauce, whisking constantly, cook 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Reduce heat to medium-low, add shredded cheese. Continue to stir until sauce is creamy and cheese has melted. Stir in pasta, followed by pulled pork. Transfer mac and cheese to oven safe baking dish and sprinkle with Texas toast crumbles. Bake15 minutes or until light golden brown.
To reheat, add a few tablespoons of milk, stir and warm.
*To make pork at home, put seasoned pork in large roasting pan, cover with foil and roast 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 lengths.
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