The Lexingtonienne

October10th

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Back in January, my grandmother called to ask if I take Real Simple Magazine. I did not take Real Simple Magazine, I explained to her. I took Vanity Fair and US Weekly — both of which I might note were hip and very much of my generation — but neither of which I ever had any time to read.

Beef & Mushroom Ragu

My grandmother replied that she had just ordered me a 12-month subscription to Real Simple. To which I quickly backpedaled, “Fantastic! Can’t wait to read it!”

Beef & Mushroom Ragu

You know the magazine I’m talking about, right? When it debuted a little over a decade ago, I was in college. I took one glance at it and thought, “That is for OLD LADIES.” You know, the same old ladies who were also reading O Magazine and driving carpool.

Beef & Mushroom Ragu

I hate to admit this because my grandmother reads the blog (Hi, Mimi!), but my subscriptions to Real Simple quickly became little more than a decorative item in the house. Every month, the stack on my coffee table would grow higher and higher. And although every month I vowed to at least thumb through the pages, my Real Simples — like my Vanity Fairs — went unread.

Beef & Mushroom Ragu

Beef & Mushroom Ragu

Then one day Hubba Bubba said to me, “Hey, do you ever read those Real Simple magazines? They have a lot of really good information in them!”

Beef & Mushroom Ragu

Really?! My husband was into The Old Lady Magazine? Intrigued, I Googled “Target demographic of Real Simple Magazine” and found a New York Times article that answered my question thusly: “mostly working mothers in their 30’s and 40’s who are fairly affluent and, for the most part, college-educated.” Well, well, well. Armed with this new stat, and influenced by two of my most trusted friends — my husband and my grandmother — I dutifully and open-mindedly perused the October issue when it arrived.

Beef & Mushroom Ragu

Y’all. My grandmother and my husband were RIGHT about Real Simple Magazine. The article about exactly where each item (eggs, yogurt, condiments, vegetables) should be kept in the fridge — along with a diagram of how a refrigerator actually works — alone was worth the entire year’s subscription. The guide on how to keep track of multiple retirement accounts was also noteworthy.

Beef & Mushroom Ragu

I can see why my 20-year-old self would have been bored out of her mind with this information, but to put things in perspective, my 20-year-old self also didn’t know you have to notify the post office when you move, and couldn’t say the word “nipple” with a straight face.

Beef & Mushroom Ragu

All that aside, I also found in the October issue this little gem of a recipe for Beef & Mushroom Ragu. Less time-consuming than my all-time favorite recipe for Bolognese Sauce (pdf) that I got from my mother-in-law (which you must make, only perhaps on a Sunday), this ragu is perfect for a hearty weeknight dinner this fall.

Beef & Mushroom Ragu

And while you’re at it, you may just want to subscribe to Real Simple. This Old Lady totally recommends it. (P.S. Thanks for the subscription, Mimi!)

Beef & Mushroom Ragu

FETTUCCINE WITH BEEF & MUSHROOM RAGU (pdf)
Adapted from Real Simple Magazine

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • 10 oz mushrooms, quartered (or pre-sliced mushrooms, roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 lb lean ground beef
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 C dry white wine
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan, for serving
  • 1/2 lb fettuccine*, cooked according to package directions

*The Real Simple recipe was actually for pappardelle, which would be prettier in my opinion, but which I couldn’t find.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and butter, cooking until butter melts. Add onion, stirring frequently and cooking for about 7 minutes or until soft. Add mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes. Add garlic and salt & pepper, continue stirring, and cook for about another 2 minutes.

Add ground beef and cook until browned, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks. Stir in tomato paste and cook for about 1 minute, then add wine and cook for about another minute. Stir in nutmeg. Add tomatoes (including the juices) and red pepper flakes, and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the liquid is slightly thickened. At this point Real Simple says it’s ready to serve, but I let mine simmer on the lowest heat for about another 20 minutes. (With sauces like this, going longer will never hurt.)

Add the sauce to the cooked pasta and stir to combine. Serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan.

xoxo,
Hannah

1 Comment

  • Comment by Amy — October 16, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

    I love this because I’ve recently noticed that when I’m in a waiting room, I’m gravitating towards the Family Circle and Redbook instead of the Cosmo. At least Real Simple isn’t as bad as Family Circle, but I gotta tell you, Family Circle has some dang good tips.

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