A modern take on a classic, this pulled pork mac n cheese combines sweet and tangy barbeque pork with cheesy macaroni. A medley of roasted mushrooms folds nicely into this dish adding a pleasant umami-rich surprise!

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 8 hrs.
Serves: 6-8

Pulled Pork:
2-3 lb (0.9 – 1.3 kg) Ontario pork shoulder
Salt and pepper
1 cup (250 mL) root beer
1 cup (250 mL) of barbeque sauce (of your choice)

Mac N Cheese:
1 lb (500 g) fresh mixed mushrooms (portabella, shiitake, oyster), coarsely chopped
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
3 cups (750 mL) rigatoni pasta (cooked until al dente)
3 cups (750 mL) milk
½ large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ tbsp (7 mL) Italian herbs
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
2 tbsp (30 mL) flour
1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups (750 mL) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ cup (60 mL) chopped cilantro

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Season all sides of pork with salt and pepper. Place pork in slow cooker with root beer and barbeque sauce. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Remove pork from slow cooker to drain liquid. Place back in slow cooker and using a fork or tongs, shred pork and remove excess fat. Add more barbeque sauce if you wish. Cover and return to low.

2. Place chopped mushrooms on a large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast mushrooms in a 400°F oven for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Set aside.

3. In a large pot, cook pasta until al dente. Set aside.

4. In a large pot combine milk, onion, garlic, and Italian herbs; bring to a simmer for 10 minutes, allowing for flavours to steep. Pour through a strainer and return to pot.

5. In another large saucepan melt butter and whisk in flour to make a roux. Slowly begin to whisk in seasoned milk; this will make a paste. Continue whisking until all milk has been added. Whisk over medium-low heat until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Add Dijon, salt and pepper.

6. Transfer cooked pasta to a large casserole dish. Mix in roasted mushrooms, cheese, and sauce. Top with approximately 3 cups of pulled pork (rest can be reserved).

7. Bake at 350°F/175°C until cheese is completely melted, approximately 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Full Recipe: Mushroom Council.

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