Using good sausages is a quick and delicious way to add meatballs to the ragu.
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 good-quality sausages, skins removed
250 grams button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, grated
200 gram piece pumpkin, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
pinch chilli flakes
1 cup red wine, optional
2 x 400-gram tins whole cherry tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock
big handful basil leaves, roughly chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
400 grams pasta (I used casarecce)
parmesan, for grating
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Break the sausages into about 8 pieces and add to the pan. Quickly brown on all sides, then remove to a plate with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the mushrooms, onion, carrots, pumpkin, garlic and chilli flakes to the pan. Season generously with salt and pepper, cover and cook for 15 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally. Uncover and increase the heat to high. Add the wine, if using, and bring to the boil, then cook until evaporated.
Stir in the tomatoes and stock and season. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes until the sauce is reduced and thickened. Stir in the basil and the sausage pieces and cook for 5 minutes to reheat.
To serve: Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions or until al dente. Drain and tip back into the saucepan and toss with a good drizzle of olive oil. Tip onto a large platter and top with the ragu. Add a generous grating of parmesan and extra basil, if desired. Serves 6.