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• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/2 medium yellow onion, minced
• 1 carrot, peeled and finely shredded (about 1/2 cup)
• 1 celery rib, including leaves, diced
• 1 teaspoon coarse salt
• 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
• 1 pound ground beef
• 1 pound ground pork
• 1 cup red wine
• 3 bay leaves
• 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 3 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
• 1 pound uncooked spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine, or penne
• Grated Parmesan cheese
1. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in the onion, carrot, celery, and salt. Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft, about 4 minutes.
2. Stir in the tomato paste and cook another 5 minutes. Let the tomato paste stick to the pan a bit and become a little brown to provide a rich flavor.
3. Crumble in the meat and continue cooking, stirring to break it up until all the meat liquid has evaporated and the meat is lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
4. Pour in the wine and cook, scraping the meat bits from the bottom of the pan, until the liquid has evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes.
5. If desired, puree the tomatoes in a blender or food processor. Pour into the meat mixture and add the bay leaves and pepper. Bring to a boil. Decrease the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is a rich, dark red color, 2 to 3 hours. The longer you cook the sauce, the better it will become. (A layer of oil will float to the top toward the end of cooking It can be spooned off or, as is done traditionally, stirred into the sauce). While the sauce is cooking, add hot water if the sauce becomes too thick.
6. About 30 minutes before serving, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving the water.
7. When the sauce is done cooking, remove the bay leaves and add the pasta. Stir to coat the pasta with the sauce and cook until bubbly. Add some of the pasta water as necessary (which helps the sauce stick to the pasta) for the desired consistency. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese to taste Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
8. To serve, transfer the pasta mixture to a large pasta bowl. Pass additional cheese.
Serve with a tossed green salad and hot Italian Bread.
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