1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 pound pancetta (or bacon), diced
1 pound boneless short ribs or other stewing/braising cut of beef, cut into 1-2 inch cubes
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup carrot, diced
1 cup celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
red pepper flakes to taste
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup dry white (or red) wine (or beef broth)
1 cup beef broth
1 (28 ounce) can tomatoes, crushed
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
1/4 cup heavy cream or milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
8 ounces pasta
grated parmesan to taste
fresh parsley and/or basil to taste
Cover the porcini mushrooms in 1 cup boiled water and let soak until tender, about 20 minutes, before chopping the mushrooms and reserving the mushroom water.
Meanwhile, cook the pancetta in a large sauce pan and set aside reserving the grease.
Cook the beef in the same pan over medium-high heat until browned on all sides before setting aside.
Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pan and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, mushrooms and tomato paste and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
Add the red wine, deglaze the pan, add the reserved mushroom water, pancetta, beef, broth, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and Italian seasoning to sauce in a slow cooker. Cook for 8-10 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.
Mix in the parmesan and cream and season with fish sauce, salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta as directed, toss with the sauce and enjoy topped with parmesan and parsley.