Sometimes we call this “The Ragu.” A traditional ragu Bolognese would have veal and pork in addition to the beef, but this is Catcher’s favorite, so he gets what he likes. The secret to this dish is adding the ingredients at specific times and letting the flavors develop. It’s a little bit of food magic. —Jonathon Sawyer
Combine pancetta or bacon, 1 tablespoon olive oil, onion, carrot, fennel, and 2 tablespoons herbs in the food processor. Pulse until finely chopped and well combined. (This mixture is often know as the soffritto.) Sauté the soffritto slowly over low heat, stirring often, approximately 25 minutes.
Add beef to soffritto and increase heat to medium. Lightly brown the meat, using a potato masher to achieve a fine texture
Add wine and cook over medium-high heat until 90% of the wine has evaporated. Add milk and continue to cook over medium high heat until 70% of milk has evaporated. (It will appear to curdle. This is just part of the magic.) Add passato, lower heat and simmer for 40 minutes.