Midwestern Comforts~

This post is solely dedicated to my Culinary boyfriends and guinea pigs, William and Corby~.  This most untraditional version of macaroni and cheese is something I used to whip up by the STOCKPOT at my past restaurant.  Laced with smoky barbecue and pepperjack cheese sauce–this dish is sure to warm both the stomach and the soul.  In an attempt to impress that of my then new neighbors; I made William and Corby this very hearty dish.

It consists of….

*Preheat your oven to 400F

~1 box of penne pasta
~1 quart of heavy cream
~1 block of velveeta (it’s a really rare cheese, I’m sure you’ve never heard of it, tee hee~)
~1 block of pepperjack cheese
~1 container of your favorite pulled pork barbecue
~1 sleeve of Ritz crackers
~1 ranch packet
~salt and pepper to taste.

Start off by boiling your water and seasoning it with a bit of salt.  Then, in a medium sized saucepan, add your heavy cream, cubed velveeta and pepperjack and cook on medium-low, stirring continuously.  Once the cheese is melted, add your favorite container of pulled pork barbecue.  You can go through the very daunting task of searing the meat and making your own barbecue, however, I prefer selecting that of my favorite pre-made version.  Season the cheese sauce with salt and pepper and put to the side.

At this point, I would toss in your penne pasta so it can begin cooking.  After that, add your sleeve of crackers and ranch packet to a food processor–blitz until pulverized.  Once your pasta is cooked, drain and toss into the cheese sauce and mix well so that everything is equally incorpoarted.  Transfer to a glass baking dish, smooth out to an even layer and then top with the buttery crumb topping.  Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes and then let cool.  At the restaurant, we used to serve this with our signature jalapeno cheddar cornbread, however, I find a cold beer just as suitable.  Enjoy~

Caleb Fortney~

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