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Pulled pork perfect with pasta

 Forgo the bun and mate your next pulled pork with pasta with this recipe.  (Associated Press)
Forgo the bun and mate your next pulled pork with pasta with this recipe. (Associated Press)

We all know pulled pork makes a killer sandwich. But I wanted to see how it held up to another carb – pasta.

I started by making a basic pulled pork. But instead of barbecue sauce, I used a blend of sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, creme fraiche and garlic. This combination would offer bold flavors and colors.

But I did want a hint of that tangy, spicy barbecue flavor, so I spiced the sauce with red wine vinegar (cider vinegar would be good, too) and a splash of hot sauce. Diced canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce would be a great alternative.

Then I tossed the whole thing with pulled pork tenderloin and fresh cheese tortellini. While any pasta would work, I liked the creaminess added by the cheese in the tortellini.

Pulled Pork with Roasted Red Peppers, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Tortellini

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

6 cups water

1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths

12-ounce package cheese tortellini

8 1/2-ounce jar oil-packed julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes

12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/4 cup creme fraiche

1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

In a medium saucepan over high, combine the peppercorns, cumin, salt and water. Bring to a boil, then add the pork.

Return the pork to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cooked for 40 minutes, or until an instant thermometer reads 160 F at the center of the pork, or until the meat is fork tender.

Drain the pork, discarding the solids in the water, then return the pork to the pan. Use two forks to pull and tear apart the meat into strands and chunks.

Bring a second medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, add the sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, red wine vinegar, creme fraiche, hot sauce and garlic to the pork. Warm the mixture over low heat.

When the pasta is cooked, add it to the pork mixture, then toss well. Season with salt and pepper.

Yield:: 4 servings

Nutrition information per serving: 769 calories, 17 grams fat (8 grams saturated), 57 grams protein, 101 grams carbohydrate, 130 milligrams cholesterol, 11 grams dietary fiber, 1,432 milligrams sodium.

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