Mac n Cheese Cups with Pork Shoulder Ragù

Today’s recipe is all about comfort food. When I think comfort food, the first thing that comes to my mind is macaroni and cheese. Oh yeah. .

I absolutely love mac n’ cheese and if I could, I would

eat this everyday. The ooey-er, gooey-er and cheesier the better. . now, you can’t skimp on cheese and fattening, rich ingredients when making mac n cheese. It’s just not right. And since you’re indulging anyway, why not add something? It needs to taste good right? I mean all those calories and all that cheese need to be worth it right? Lately, I’ve been enjoying baked mac n cheese. . and wanted to add something to make this dish even more delicious.

I made these Mac n’ Cheese Cups and topped them with some Pork Shoulder Ragù! The mac n cheese combined with the meaty, tangy, juiciness from the pork ragù is heaven on a fork. . . not to mention your kitchen will smell wonderful for hours. Please, please try making the pork to go with this. . you will not regret it. I made the pork shoulder the night before and then the mac n cheese cups the next day! The pork shoulder ragu heats up nicely and this way, you’re not cooking up a storm all at once.

Hope you enjoy!

Mac n Cheese Cups with Pork Shoulder Ragù

Mac n Cheese Cups

Mac n Cheese Cups with Pork Shoulder Ragu
Recipe type: Appetizer or Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8

  • For Mac n Cheese Cups:
  • 1 and ½ cups Ritz crackers, crushed (I placed all the crackers in a big ziploc bag and used a meat tenderizer)
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated and divided
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 and ½ cups cooked elbow macaroni (about 8 ounces uncooked)
  • One 5.2-ounce container of Boursin Garlic and Herb cheese (or The Laughing Cow Garlic & Herb spreadable cheese)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch red pepper flakes (optional; for a little heat)
  • Parsley, for garnish
  • For Pork Shoulder Ragu:
  • 2 to 2½-pound boneless pork shoulder roast
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small onion; chopped
  • 1 garlic clove; minced
  • 1 – 28 oz can whole tomatoes or diced, with juice
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 5 sprigs fresh oregano
  • Small handful of fennel seeds (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce, for smokiness (optional)

  1. For Mac n Cheese Cups:
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Generously spray 8 cups of your muffin pan with cooking spray.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the crushed Ritz crackers, 1 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese, and the melted butter, mixing well until the mixture holds together and resembles coarse sand. Divide the mixture among the 8 muffin cups and, using your fingers, press the crust firmly into the bottoms and up the sides of each muffin cup.
  5. In another large bowl, combine the cooked (and still hot) macaroni with ½ cup of the shredded cheddar, the garlic & herb cheese, and the butter. Mix well.
  6. In a separate small bowl, combine the eggs, milk, sour cream, salt, and red pepper flakes (if using) and mix well. Add the egg/milk mixture to the cooked macaroni, mixing until all of the ingredients are melted and smoothly combined. Place about 2-3 tablespoons of the macaroni mixture into each muffin cup.
  7. Top each muffin cup with the remaining cheddar cheese. Bake the mac and cheese cups until lightly golden on top, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool slightly before removing from the muffin pan. Use a fork to gently remove from the muffin pan.
  8. For Pork Shoulder Ragu:
  9. Preheat oven to 325°F. Liberally salt and pepper the pork roast. Add olive oil and butter to large Dutch oven and heat over medium-high until butter melts, but does not burn. Add pork roast to pan and brown on all sides, about 8-10 minutes in all.
  10. Add the onions and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, wine, thyme, oregano, fennel and hot sauce (if using) and bring to a boil. Cover, and put in oven. Braise for 3-4 hours, turning every hour or so. If you are cooking less pork (only 1 pound or 1.5), you only need to braise for 2 hours. Add more liquid (water, wine, or tomato sauce) if needed. I recommend adding more tomato sauce if you need to. (The liquid should come to about ⅓ of the way up the pork.) Meat is done when it’s practically falling apart. Put on a cutting board and pull it apart with two forks, then add back to the pot and stir.
  11. Top your mac n’ cheese cups with some pork shoulder ragù and top with fresh parsley. Serve while still hot.


Pork Shoulder Ragù

Note: I made about a pound of pork. If you make the entire 2 to 2.5 lbs, you will definitely have some leftover, which you can eat by itself (which is heaven) or eat with any kind of pasta after you have topped this on the mac n’ cheese cups! Please note the braising time required.




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42 Responses to "Mac n Cheese Cups with Pork Shoulder Ragù"

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  1. Stephanie

    September 4, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    For real, I cannot wait to make this! You had me at the garlic cheese and sour cream added to the mac and cheese. Heaven.

    • hipfoodiemom

      September 4, 2012 at 4:25 pm

      Thank you, Stephanie! This mac n cheese is awesome! I ate all of the leftovers. . by myself! yikes! it was so good!

  2. gottagetbaked

    September 6, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    I am literally DROOLING right now staring at those glorious photos! I looooove mac ‘n cheese and that pork shoulder ragu looks so tender and succulent. Yum… And how adorable are those little mac ‘n cheese cups, with those perfectly crispy edges? I could inhale a dozen of these babies!

    • hipfoodiemom

      September 6, 2012 at 8:13 pm

      Nancy, seriously, the day I made these. . I think I ate 3 or 4. . and then I ate the leftover mac n cheese the following day. . needless to say, I did a lot of jumping jacks that weekend. 😛 But what I loved the most: I made these for a friend’s BBQ and this one little boy ate like 4 or 5 of these! Made me so happy! :) I love it when kids eat what I make. . don’t know why. .

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  4. Malcolm

    September 14, 2012 at 3:03 am

    This is completely insane. I love it.

    • hipfoodiemom

      September 14, 2012 at 3:25 am

      Haha, thanks! :)

  5. Julia

    September 16, 2012 at 2:47 am

    You made Mac n Cheese look very attractive.

    • hipfoodiemom

      September 16, 2012 at 3:31 am

      Thank you, Julia! :)

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