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Pulled-Pork Macaroni and Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Four Cheeses

Scott Phillips

Servings: six.

This macaroni is indulgent, impossibly good, and worth the extra time and effort, but if you’re rushed for time, try the Quick Skillet Mac and Cheese.


  • One 4-lb. smoked pork shoulder
  • 12 oz. dried ridged pasta, preferably radiatore
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 Tbs. (2 oz. ) unsalted butter
  • 2 small yellow onions, chopped (1-1/2 cups)
  • 1-1/8 oz. (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 3-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1-1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh sage leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 oz. grated Gruyère (1-1/2 cups)
  • 4 oz. grated Emmentaler (11/2 cups)
  • 4 oz. grated fontina (1-1/2 cups)
  • 2/3 cup panko
  • 2 oz. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (2 cups)
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh chives

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 920
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 410
  • Fat (g): 46
  • Saturated Fat (g): 23
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 16
  • Cholesterol (mg): 170
  • Sodium (mg): 690
  • Carbohydrates (g): 63
  • Fiber (g): 3
  • Protein (g): 51


  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F.

    Put the pork in a large heavy-duty roasting pan, cover with foil, and roast until the meat is falling off the bone, 5 to 6 hours. Cool until warm enough to handle, about 1 hour.

    Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of well-salted water according to package directions until just barely al dente. Drain and set aside.

    Shred the pork by hand, pulling it into 2-inch-long pieces. Discard the bone and any excess fat. Set aside 1 lb. of the pulled pork (about 4 cups) and save the rest for another use (see “Leftovers,” below, for ideas).

    Raise the oven temperature to 350°F. Melt the butter in a large 8-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and very soft, about 20 minutes.

    Whisk in the flour and cook for 30 seconds. Whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream. Raise the heat to medium high and whisk constantly until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble, 3 to 5 minutes.

    Whisk in the white wine, sage, and a 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a low simmer, whisking constantly.

    Reduce the heat to low and use a wooden spoon to stir in the Gruyère, Emmentaler, and fontina. Stir in the reserved pork and pasta until well coated. Pour the mixture into a 12-inch cast-iron skillet.

    In a small bowl, mix the panko, Parmigiano, and olive oil. Sprinkle evenly over the mixture in the skillet.

    Bake until the topping is browned and the cheese sauce is bubbling through the topping and around the edges of the skillet, 40 to 45 minutes. (If the topping begins to brown too deeply, tent loosely with foil.) Let the macaroni and cheese rest for at least 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the chives and serve.

Use the leftover pork shoulder in Pork and Potato Hash with Poached Eggs and Avocado; Pork Ragout and Soft Polenta; or Pulled-Pork Sandwiches with Cabbage, Capers, and Herb Slaw.


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Reviews (16 reviews)

  • Judy_Charlottesville | 02/17/2020

    (Since I just made this recipe today AND I have this issue on my bookshelf, one could guess I am a fan of Fine Cooking...have been a subscriber for years) The people who reviewed this ten years ago will never see this review, but their thoughts are puzzling to me. This dish has LOTS (and LOTS) of flavor. It has a wonderful cheese fondue flavor. The "ham" was fantastic- I have searched for this type of ham for years, so if nothing else, I have a great source for what I consider a picnic ham. I roasted the pork the other day so that didn't really impact me. This afternoon, I shredded the cheese, sauteed the onions, made the cheese sauce, mixed in the cooked pasta (used 9 oz instead of 12 oz - I like a little more sauce : pasta ratio), and baked it....my husband went back for thirds, so I think that says it all. It was delicious. A bit expensive for my retired budget- really could leave out the ham and I would have loved it- but it was a wonderful dish. Not any more time intensive than most good recipes. Would make it again! (If someone needs something else to make from this issue- try the dumplings with pork and shrimp filling. As good as my favorite dim sum restaurant, Yank Sing, serves in San Francisco.)

  • JoeHagedorn | 02/01/2019

    Based on the previous reviews. I plan to make this recipe but add fresh thyme and dijon mustard.
    That should add to the flavor profile.

  • Auralyn | 06/14/2012

    I want to give this recipe a great review, but although I enjoyed it I do have mixed feelings about it: it was tasty, but not quite as tasty as I would have thought given all the prep. time and amount of ingredients involved. The same result could be achieved with much cheaper ingredients, it seems (confession though: I did not use the above-mentioned smoked pork, but a high quality ham I already had in my fridge). It tasted RICH too, the kind of richness that feels a little decadent and does not do much to enhance the flavor. Last thing, it was a little on the dry side, I thought. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and rate it 4 stars though, well aware that I alone could be at the origin of these shortcomings. We still enjoyed this dinner, of course, but next time I'll make it (I so want it to work out!) I might pair it down and not use so many different cheeses, and maybe try different herbs/ spices, and more bechamel sauce.

  • sfordscott | 07/18/2010

    I purchased some of the best pulled pork available in Middle Tennessee to make this recipe, and followed the recipe closely. In my opinion it is too much work and too expensive for such a bland result.

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