At Monteverde restaurant in Chicago, chef Sarah Grueneberg makes this playful and uber-flavorful play on Bolognese using cured meats. This is a great use for those leftover nubbins of charcuterie after a cocktail party.Slideshow: More Pasta Recipes
Dice the country ham and salumi into small pieces. Using a food processor, pulse the salumi until finely chopped. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based pot. Place the country ham, salumi and ground beef in the pot, adjust the heat so the meat sizzles gently. Brown the meat thoroughly on both sides, turning it over every so often as its juices rise to the surface. This will encourage the formation of the glaze on the bottom of the pan.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a plate. Add the guanciale, fennel seed and chile flake and allow the fat to render. Then add the diced carrot, celery, and onion. Allow the vegetables to soften and brown for about 15 minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste and let caramelize. Deglaze with red wine and reduce by half. Add the tomatoes, browned meat and chicken stock. Bring the sauce to a simmer and let cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Finish the ragu with the butter and red wine vinegar. No seasoning is needed because of the saltiness in the salumi.
In a large pot of salted boiling water cook the pasta to almost al dente. Drain the pasta and gently toss the pasta with half of the sauce and little water, as needed to loosen the sauce, over moderate heat until combined. Save the remaining sauce for a later use. Transfer the pasta to bowls and garnished with parsley, dried oregano, a dollop of fresh ricotta, if using, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately.