Sarah -- this one's for you, too -- you asked for it a while ago. It's not hard to make. It just takes time.
Copied this recipe down while I was in an airport lounge when we were coming back from a trip --it was probably Food & Wine, 2002
1 T. unsalted butter
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, finely chopped (I buy pre-cut cubed in the deli case)
1 medium carrot, finely diced
1 medium onion, finely diced ( I use a large one)
1 celery rib, finely diced (I use some leaves too)
1 pound coarsely ground beef chuck &
1 pound coarsely ground pork (I use veal, pork, beef combo - 2 lbs in total)
1/2 lb. mortadella, cut into 1/4 inch dice (optional)
1 T. tomato paste
1 c. dry white wine
1 28 ounce can Italian whole tomatoes, chopped, juices reserved
1 1/2 c. chicken or beef broth or stock, low sodium
1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg
3 T. chopped flatleaf parsley
2 T. chopped basil
salt & pepper
1 lb. spaghetti
1/4 c. heavy cream
Freshly grated Parmesan for serving
Melt the butter and olive oil in a large heavy stovetop casserole or dutch oven. On medium high to high, saute the onions until they begin to soften -- a few minutes. Fyi - This sauce is all about developing flavor, so browning and collecting the bits along the way is good technique.
Then add the garlic, pancetta, carrots and celery and continue to saute until pancetta is rendered. About 5 minutes in total.
Add the meat --- crumble -- and cook for an additional 8 minutes.
This is what mortadella looks like. Has pistachios in it.
Stir in tomato paste and the diced mortadella and cook for 2 minutes.
Add wine and cook until reduced in half --- about 3 more minutes. Then add tomatoes, juice and stock and 1 T. of basil and parsley.
Season and then cook until very thick --- 1.5 hours on a very low simmer. Partially covered.
Meanwhile cook the pasta. Add the cream to the meat sauce at the end.
Here's my portion. Serve it with a little Parmesan on top.
Here's Tom's portion. He loves it.And here's the container we froze for Sarah.