Makes 4-5 cups
Serves ~ 8
· 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
· 1 small onion, chopped
· 2 carrots, chopped
· 2 celery stalks, chopped
· ¼ cup chopped bacon or pancetta (optional)
· 1 lb. lean ground beef, turkey or chicken
· ¾ cup dry white wine (or add more broth)
· One 28-ounce diced tomato
· 1 cup beef or chicken stock
· 1 Tbsp dried parsley
· 1 Tbsp fennel, crushed in a mortar and pestle
· ½ tsp cayenne
· Salt and freshly ground black pepper (½ tsp each)
· Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1. Put the olive oil in a large, deep skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat. When hot, add the onion, carrot, celery, and bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Add the ground meat and cook, stirring and breaking up any clumps, until all traces of red are gone, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the wine, raise the heat a bit, and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes. If not adding wine, skip.
4. Add tomatoes, stock, parsley, cayenne, fennel, salt and pepper. Turn the heat to low and cook at a slow simmer, stirring occasionally and breaking up the tomatoes and any clumps of meat that remain. Cook for at least another hour, until much of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce is very thick. (At this point, you may refrigerate the sauce for a day or two or freeze it for several weeks. Reheat before proceeding.)
5. Serve immediately with any cooked pasta or zoodle. Garnish with Parmesan cheese if desired.