2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1/2 pound pancetta or guanciale, cut into small dice
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 pounds coarsely ground beef chuck
Coarse black pepper
Kosher or sea salt
A couple of sprigs each of rosemary, sage, thyme, tied into a bundle
1 fresh bay leaf
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1-2 small ribs celery, finely chopped
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups Barolo or other dry red wine
1 can San Marzano tomatoes (28-32 ounces)
2 cans beef consommé
1 cup whole milk
1 pound pappardelle or bucatini pasta
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (for a nutty flavor) or Pecorino cheese (for a tangy flavor), for topping
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat with the EVOO, two turns of the pan. Add the pancetta or guanciale and brown to crisp; remove and drain. Melt the butter in the pan; pat the meat dry and add it to the pan. Brown well; season liberally with coarse black pepper and a little salt. Add the herb bundle and the bay leaf, carrot, celery, onion and garlic. Stir to soften a few minutes; add the tomato paste and stir until fragrant. Add the wine to deglaze and reduce by half. Add the tomatoes and consommé. Break up the tomatoes a bit, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes to break down the tomatoes. Stir in the milk and simmer for 20-30 minutes more over low heat while you cook the pasta.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water and cook the pasta to al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the starchy cooking water before draining the pasta.
Combine the starchy cooking water with the sauce and pasta. Serve in shallow bowls and top with cheese.