It’s the season when those all-too-familiar cravings for your favorite comfort foods are starting to return. As thoughts of mouthwatering aromas from the slow cooker replace memories of barbecues and cookouts, there’s one popular comfort food that never fails to deliver: macaroni and cheese.
It’s hard to imagine anything better than this warm, cozy, make-you-feel-better dish, except when you add a delicious and comforting-on-its-own ingredient, like barbecue pork. Tender and juicy every way it’s prepared – whether in a roaster, stock pot or slow cooker – pork lends itself perfectly to any of your favorite dishes. Serve up smiles with this scrumptious recipe for BBQ Pork Mac n’ Cheese, which is sure to satisfy with soothing aromas and savory flavors perfect for any fall gathering.
If you’re craving more than macaroni and cheese, don’t forget about all the other ways you can include pork in feel-good meals. Try:
* Adding roasted pork cubes to hearty stews and chili.
* Dicing ham for an extra-comforting omelet.
* Combining tenderloin strips with vegetables for a sizzling-hot stir-fry.
No matter what comfort food you choose to enjoy with pork this fall, remember the National Pork Board recommends cooking chops, roast and tenderloin to an internal temperature between 145°F (medium rare) and 160°F (medium), followed by a three-minute rest. Use a digital thermometer to ensure an accurate reading for juicy, tender pork.
2-3 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 3 pieces
1 (18-ounce) bottle BBQ sauce
12 ounces macaroni or other small pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup half and half
1 1/2 cups shredded Fontina cheese or white cheddar
- Place pork shoulder and sauce into slow cooker. Cover and place on low heat for 8 hours.
- Using two forks, shred pork while still in slow cooker. Once shredded, let rest in slow cooker with remaining sauce.
- Bring large pot of heavily salted water to boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water and drain pasta.
- Return pot to stove over low heat and add olive oil. Once oil is warm, add onion, season with salt and cook until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in half and half. When mixture just begins to simmer, add cheese and whisk until smooth.
- Once cheese has melted, add pasta and stir to coat. If macaroni and cheese seems thick, add few tablespoons of reserved pasta water and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Evenly distribute pasta in 6 serving bowls and add serving of pork on top of pasta and serve. Reserve extra pork for leftovers.
Serving suggestion: An arugula or spinach salad is a fresh accompaniment to savory macaroni and cheese.
Note: You can also use your favorite pre-packaged pulled pork in lieu of making it in the slow cooker. Prepare pork according to package directions and place on top of macaroni and cheese once cooked.