Aired December 1, 2011
1/2 pound pancetta or guanciale, cut into small dice
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 pounds coarsely ground beef chuck
Coarse black pepper
Kosher or sea salt
A couple of sprigs each rosemary, sage, thyme, tied into a bundle
1 fresh bay leaf
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 to 2 small ribs celery, finely chopped
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups Barolo or other dry red wine
1 28- to 32-ounce can Marzano tomatoes
2 cans beef consomm
1 cup whole milk
1 pound pappardelle or bucatini pasta
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (for a nutty flavor) or Pecorino (for a tangy flavor) for topping
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat with EVOO, 2 turns of the pan. Add pancetta or guanciale and brown to crisp, remove and drain. Melt butter in pan, pat meat dry and add it to the pan. Brown well, season liberally with coarse black pepper and a little salt. Add herb bundle and bay, carrot, celery, onions and garlic. Stir to soften a few minutes; add tomato paste and stir until fragrant. Add wine to deglaze and reduce by half. Add tomatoes and consomm. Break up the tomatoes a bit then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook about 30 minutes to break down tomatoes. Stir in milk and simmer 20-30 minutes more over low heat while you cook the pasta.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water and cook pasta to al dente. Reserve 1 cup starchy liquid before draining pasta.
Combine starchy water with sauce and pasta. Serve in shallow bowls and top with cheese.