Mac n Cheese Cups with Pork Shoulder Ragu
 
 
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer or Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 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)
Instructions
  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.
Recipe by Hip Foodie Mom at http://hipfoodiemom.com/2012/09/02/mac-n-cheese-cups-with-pork-shoulder-ragu/