28-ounce cancrushed tomatoes with juiceideally San Marzano
1poundpappardelle pastaor tagliatelle, cooked according to package directions
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepperto taste
grated Parmigiano Reggianoto taste, optional
minced fresh Italian parsleyto taste, optional
Heat a large pot over medium heat; add pancetta. Cook and stir until fat starts to render, 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the soffritto of vegetables: carrot, onion, celery. Cook and stir until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the ground beef; break up with a wooden spoon and stir until lightly brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and discard excess fat. Add wine and bring to boil; reduce heat and let simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes, or until most of the wine evaporates.
Add crushed tomatoes and their juices; stir. Simmer 30 minutes more. This is a good time to put water on to boil for your pasta. (Cook pasta according to package directions, timed to be ready just after you've stirred cream into the sauce. And reserve some of the pasta water for loosening the sauce if necessary.)
Remove sauce from heat and stir in heavy cream.
Season ragu with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add hot cooked pasta to sauce and gently toss to coat. Add reserved pasta water if necessary to loosen the sauce.
Divide pasta and sauce among serving bowls. If desired, top with grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and minced fresh Italian parsley; serve.
If you can’t find pancetta, substitute thick sliced bacon – the main difference is that pancetta isn’t smoked.