“Oh, Baby, make me that meat sauce.”

I have said it before, and I am gonna say it again. There is meat sauce and there is meat sauce. If you want to talk seriously about sauce, then you have to be ready to spend some time with it. There is no getting your skates on when you have sauce on the stove.

Get out 2 of your finest cans of San Marzano whole plum tomatoes, 1 pound of chuck, 1 pork chop, a quarter pound of uncured pancetta (diced), one onion, 3 cloves of garlic, 2 carrots, 2 inside stalks of celery, 1 bay leaf, 1 sprig of rosemary and a sprig of parsley, and a fine red wine. (You can fight me on this)
Season your pork chop (I buy organic) with salt on both sides, and sear off on both sides, in the best olive oil you can find. Set it to the side. Finely dice all of the vegetables, (leave the garlic whole and get it a little golden first before adding the other stuff) give a spill of olive oil to the pan, and saute them over a low to medium heat with a good pinch of salt, the rosemary, parsley and bay leaf, until they are tender, and beginning to caramelize and so good they move you when you give them a taste. Don’t abandon these vegetables when you are cooking them. Stay right there by the stove and squish the tomatoes, roll out some pasta, but don’t leave the vegetables. Add the pancetta, and continue to stir until the pancetta starts to crisp. Add the ground chuck. Season a with a little salt. Cook slowly until the meat is completely cooked through. Drain in a fine sieve. Get it all back in the pan, and add a half cup of white wine. Let it reduce nearly completely. Add a cup of homemade stock. Let it reduce nearly completely. Add your squished tomatoes. Add the pork chop, and let it go for about 20 until just cooked through and then remove (if you want, you could always sear and braise 2 chops instead of one for a second course). Let the sauce simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If you like, you can add another stalk of rosemary for a little while (taste to see when it should come out) or another spill of wine, just be sure to let it reduce. When you feel it’s good to go–and the taste will tell you–cook your pasta until right before al dente in rapidly boiling, salted water. Drain, reserve a little of the pasta water, get the pasta back in the pot, and ladle in enough sauce to cover. Finish cooking the pasta in the sauce for about another minute. Add a little spoonful of the reserved water if you need to smooth it out. Add a good hanful of Parmigiano Reggiano and serve immediately. People should be at the table, ready to hug you.

You can sear and stir and serve it up, but if that’s all you do, it will never taste like a sauce that you have given your heart to–give it up when you cook and love your sauce.

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