Tagliatelle with Bolognese Sauce

This is Bologna's greatest claim to fame. A smaller portion makes a great Primo course, or a slightly larger portion with a few veggies added, a main meal. We first ate it with an appetizer of prosciutto and melon (cantaloupe), which paired very nicely.

INGREDIENTS:
2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms, wiped of grit
1/4 pound pancetta or slab bacon, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs rosemary
1 1/2 pound ground pork
1 1/2 pound ground beef
2 cups milk
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups dry red wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound dry tagliatelle pasta
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
1 handful fresh basil leaves
Fresh ricotta cheese
YIELD: 4 to 6 servings
COURSE: Pasta
CUISINE: Italian
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Reconstitute the mushrooms in very hot water for 20 minutes or so. Drain and coarsely chop.
  2. Puree the mushrooms, pancetta, onion, celery stalks, carrots, garlic, together in a blender.
  3. In a heavy-bottomed pot add olive oil, bay leaves, herbs and cook gently until fragrant, then add vegetable puree and continue to cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Raise the heat a bit and add the ground pork and beef; brown until the meat is no longer pink, breaking up the clumps with a wooden spoon. Add the milk and simmer until the liquid is evaporated; about 10 minutes. Carefully pour in the tomatoes, and wine and season with salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat and cover. Slowly simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring now and then, until the sauce is very thick. Taste again for salt and pepper.
  5. When you are ready to serve, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm (as they say in Italian "al dente"). Drain the pasta well and toss with the Bolognese sauce.
  6. Serve with a good scoop of fresh ricotta cheese and garnish with some shredded basil, grated Parmigiano and a drizzle of olive oil.