I know, crazy huh?! I've mentioned my love of the Panini Happy blog before. Awhile back I was at the grocery store and saw the Food Network magazine at the checkout stand. On the cover was a panini with macaroni and cheese and pulled pork. Holy yummy, Batman!! I made a mental note to look up the recipe online. Then a couple days later I got an email from the Panini Happy blog that this recipe was her latest post!! It was meant to be. Recently pork loin roasts were on sale, so I grabbed one with the sole intention of making this sandwich for the husband and me to try. We had pulled pork for dinner on a Thursday, Friday night I made Pioneer Woman's mac and cheese for my kiddos then after they went to bed the husband and I had these sandwiches. Efficient use of food, huh?
Grilled Mac and Cheese with Pulled Pork Panini
Source: Food Network magazine and PaniniHappy.com
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
4 cups prepared macaroni and cheese, warmed
2 onions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup barbecue sauce
2 cups prepared pulled pork
8 slices sourdough bread
12 slices sharp cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces)
Spread the macaroni and cheese in an 8-inch-square baking dish to about 3/4 inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 45 minutes. Cut the macaroni and cheese into squares that are slightly smaller than the bread slices.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Combine the barbecue sauce and pulled pork in a saucepan over low heat and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
Preheat the panini grill to medium-high heat.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and brush on one side of each bread slice. Flip over half of the bread slices; layer 1 slice of cheddar, 1 macaroni-and-cheese square and another slice of cheddar on each. Top each with one-quarter of the pulled pork and caramelized onions and another slice of cheddar. Top with the remaining bread slices, buttered-side up.
Working in batches, cook the sandwiches until the cheese melts and the bread is golden, about 5 minutes.
This sandwich was FILLING. I couldn't even eat half of mine. My only complaint was that my pork could have been saucier, but that was my fault, not the recipe's. This was awesome cheesy yummy goodness. A diet buster for sure, but awesome. If you make it, make sure you use a sturdy bread because this is a monster sandwich. And it's not for the carb-shy. Decadent for sure. Mmmm...now I want to make it again saucier and see if it really does make a difference.
I could only fit one on my panini press at a time.
Look at that gooey cheesy macaroni goodness spilling out...
See, definitely needs more sauce.