- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 medium carrot, finely diced
- 1 medium celery rib, finely diced
- 2 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, finely diced
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound ground veal
- 1/4 pound ground pork
- 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- One 28-ounce can peeled Italian tomatoes—seeded and finely chopped, juices reserved
- 1 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 pounds penne rigate
- Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan until shimmering. Add the onion, carrot, celery and pancetta and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened but not browned, about 8 minutes. Scrape the vegetable mixture into a large bowl.
- Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the saucepan and heat until just shimmering. Add the beef, veal and pork and cook over moderately high heat until just barely pink, about 5 minutes. Return the vegetable mixture to the saucepan. Add the garlic and cook over high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost evaporated, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and their juices, the chicken stock, thyme and bay leaf. Season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover partially and cook over moderately low heat for 1 hour. Discard the bay leaf. Stir in the heavy cream and cook the sauce just until heated through.
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain well, return to the pot and toss with the sauce. Serve the pasta in deep bowls and pass the Parmesan at the table.
The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and frozen up to 1 month.
A Barbera from Italy or California has enough weight and flavor to stand up to the rich meat sauce and enough acidity to balance the tomatoes.