Heat up the olive oil in a large saucepan with a heavy bottom [or a large dutch oven] over low to medium heat.
Once warm, add the chopped garlic, onion, carrot, and celery and season with a little salt and pepper. Mix well and allow to cook until the vegetables are soft and the onion transparent. This will take about 5 minutes.
Next, add the ground beef [or ground meat of choice] and increase the flame to medium high heat. Using a wooden spoon, break down the meat and mix it until all of its sides change color [start to cook] and all the ingredients are well mixed together. This step will take approximately 5 minutes.
OPTIONAL: Should you decide to use wine, add it at this stage and allow it to simmer away until it fully evaporates. You won't need much wine, less than a glass will suffice.
OPTIONAL: At this stage add your herbs of choice, and mix them well to the meat. Should the tomatoes you choose to use watery, add also a tablespoon of tomato paste at this stage and allow it to fry for a minute.
Once ready, add the tomato passata and the same amount of water. Mix well the meat sauce and allow it to come to a light simmer.
OPTIONAL: If using broth or stock instead of water, ensure you use less salt while seasoning.
Cover the saucepan with a lid and reduce the flame to low. The sauce will need to simmer lightly for a minimum of an hour, however, ideally two and a half hours would be best, as the longer this is cooked for the more the flavor will blend together and the meat pieces break down to create a thick and meaty texture. Bolognese sauce is ready once the fats can be seen gathering at the sides of the pan and you can see little crates form in the centre of the Bolognese. Remember to keep on stirring occasionally.
OPTIONAL: If adding milk, 15 minutes before the Bolognese is ready, start adding a little milk at a time, incorporating it well to the sauce before adding more.
Once ready, taste for seasoning.
Before serving, in a large pan of boiling salted water, cook the rigatoni pasta according to package directions. Before driving the pasta, save a cup of cooking water on the side.
Heat up the bolognese sauce in a large skillet and, once warm, add the al dente pasta to the Bolognese and a couple of spoons of the cooking water. Add more pasta cooking water if necessary.
Serve the pasta with some grated parmesan cheese and a nice slice of bread [or warm garlic bread for a little extra on the side!]