Time: 4.5 hrs. total (30 min. prep & 4 hrs. cook)
Rating: 5 stars
2 tbs. olive oil
1 1/4 lb. ground beef
1 1/4 lb. ground pork
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 oz. pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced (I did not use celery because celery is the one food I can’t stand! Though, I can see how the crunch would add a lot to the texture)
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup milk
2 cans (each 28 oz.) whole tomatoes, passed through a food mill (make it simple, use cans of crushed tomatoes instead)
2 bay leaves
1 Parmigiano-Reggiano (I prefer Pecorino-Romano) cheese rind
1 lb. tagliatelle, pappardelle, or zucchini (If using zucchini, must spiralize using the flat blade)
1. In a cast iron pot over medium-high heat, warm 1 tbs. of the olive oil. Add the ground beef, pork, salt, and pepper and cook until browned, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the pancetta to the insert and cook until crisp, about 7 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate.
2. Reduce the heat to medium and warm the remaining 1 tbs. olive oil. Add the onion, carrots, and celery (ick!) and cook until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the ground meats, pancetta, milk, tomatoes, bay leaves, cheese rind, salt, and pepper and bring to a simmer.
3. Cover and cook on medium until the sauce thickens, about 3 1/2 hours. Discard the bay leaves and cheese rind. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
4. Cook pasta according to instructions or, if using zucchini noodles, place a skillet (preferably non-stick) over medium heat. Heat about 1 tbs. olive oil. When the oil flows around the skillet like water, toss in the specialized zucchini noodles and cook for 3-6 minutes, or just until tender. Toss the pasta or zucchini noodles with about 3 cups sauce, or however much you see fit. (Once plated, I add a little bit of gradded Pecorino-Romano on top.) Serve immediately.
5. Put leftover sauce in a container to freeze. This sauce freezes fabulously and will make for an easy gourmet meal when there is nothing in the fridge!
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