* 1 medium carrot
* 1 medium onion
* 1 stalk celery
* ¼ cup olive oil
* 6 cloves garlic, minced
* ½ tsp chili flakes
* ½ cup pancetta or rindless bacon, chopped
* 450 grams ground beef or ground round, ground twice
* salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
* 2 tbsp tomato paste
* 1 bay leaf, torn
* ½ tsp dried thyme
* ½ tsp dried oregano
* ½ cup dry red wine
* 1 (400 gram) can crushed tomatoes
* 2 cups beef or chicken stock (or ½ beef or chicken bouillon cube dissolved in 2 cups hot water)
* liquid seasoning (to taste)
* 450 grams pasta , cooked according to package directions
* freshly grated parmesan cheese
1) Finely chop carrots, onions, and celery using a food processor or with a knife.
2) Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepot or Dutch oven. Add carrots, onions, celery, garlic, and chili flakes. Cook vegetables over medium heat until very tender and slightly caramelized, about 8 minutes. It is important to cook the vegetables slowly to bring out their sweetness, juices, and flavor.
3) Add bacon and cook for 2 minutes or until the fat has rendered. Add ground beef and ground pork, breaking up the meat using a wooden spoon to avoid clumps. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes or until the juices have evaporated and the meat is browned.
4) Add tomato paste, bay leaf, thyme, and oregano. Mix to incorporate and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
5) Turn heat to high and add wine. Cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Add more stock if the meat sauce is becoming too dry. It is crucial to cook the sauce long and slow to tenderize the meat, to cook the tomatoes fully, and to let the flavors come together.
6) Taste to adjust seasoning. Add liquid seasoning (if using) and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
7) Toss with pasta of choice and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. If not serving immediately, let meat sauce cool and store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days to let the flavors meld.