100g smoked pancetta, cut into 2 cm cubes
1 clove garlic, skin on, bashed with the palm of your hand
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 carrot, chopped
1 brown onion, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
2–3 juniper berries, crushed in a mortar and pestle
1 sprig thyme, plus extra leaves to garnish
4–5 marjoram leaves
250g beef mince
150g Italian style pork & fennel sausage meat, taken out of its casing
200ml red wine
2 x 400g tins of tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
1–2 bay leaves
Salt flakes and freshly ground white pepper, to season
400g of mezzi rigatoni
Freshly grated pecorino, to serve
1. To make the ragù: cook the pancetta cubes and garlic in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat until the pancetta has rendered most of its fat and looks caramelised. Set aside to rest.
2. Discard the garlic and most of the pancetta fat. Add the olive oil, chopped vegetables, juniper berries, thyme and marjoram leaves, cook over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent.
3. Drop in the beef mince and sausage meat and brown over high heat for 5 minutes, then return the pancetta to the pan. Deglaze the pan with the wine, simmer until alcohol has evaporated. Add tomatoes and stock, bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low. Add the bay leaves, season generously with salt, cover. Cook slowly for 4–6 hours, stirring occasionally. If it starts to dry out, add a little water. Taste, season with salt and white pepper.
4. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, drop in the rigatoni and cook for 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain well, reserving a couple of tablespoons of the pasta cooking water to add to the ragù. This little trick will help bind the sauce and create a richer, creamier texture.
5. Serve rigatoni with the meat sauce, dust with pecorino and fresh thyme leaves.
Wine match: Sangiovese, Nero d’Avola, Barbera or Tempranillo
Styling: Michaela Le Compte, Food Prep: Julie Ballard