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Ragu Sauce A La Bruno

1/2 cup carrots, chopped fine
1/2 cup celery, chopped fine
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 package dried porcini mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt, add as needed to taste
1 teaspoon mild chili powder, to taste
1/4 cup olive oil, not extra virgin
1/4 pound panchetta or smoked ham, cut into small pieces
1 small can tomato paste
4 pounds pureed fresh tomatoes or 15 ounces tomato sauce, canned

Place the dried Porcini mushrooms in a shallow soup bowl and add
about 1/2 cup boiling water. Stir for a few minutes and cover.
Let stand for 30 minutes.

In a large pot, add the oil and cook the panchetta until light
brown. Add the carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Sautiover low
heat for 30 minutes while the mushrooms soak. Do not allow vegetables
to brown as this will change the taste of the sauce.

Peel the tomatoes and rough chop them. Place them into a blender
and puree until smooth.

Remove the mushrooms from the bowl and add them to the pot. Now
carefully pour off the dark water the mushroom soaked in into the
pot. Do not add it all as there may be some sand or soil at the
bottom. Discard the last of the soaking water. Add the tomato
sauce and tomato paste and chili powder.

Cover the Ragu and let it simmer for at least 4 hours.


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