Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme





Ok, so this one was rather obvious but I’m trying to keep it simple in the beginning not just with the recipes but also with the references.  There were a lot of ways I could have gone with this oft repeated lyric from the song “Scarborough Fair/Canticle” and title of the album in which it appeared.  I chose to use potatoes which go so well with fresh herbs especially when roasting because of the ease of demonstrating how to cook with all four in the same dish.

I once read a quote from Paul Simon that he absolutely couldn’t listen to all the old songs he wrote back in his youth.  I’m sure I’m not alone in suggesting that was his best work not taking away some of his great solo work in the decades after the sixties when he and Art Garfunkel were the kings of soft rock ballads.  There were just so many great songs from that era by this duo that are just timeless.

Roasted potatoes are of course a side dish and they go with just about any meal.  Pair them with meat, lamb, pork, poultry, seafood, etc.  Choosing which type of potato to use is an important commodity to know.  Waxy potatoes like new or red potatoes work best due to their low starch content.  If you like your potatoes soft cook them longer in the oven at a lower temperature.  If you prefer them crispier, roast at a higher temperature for a shorter time.  If your roasting pan does not have a non-stick surface line the pan with parchment paper before cooking.  Always grease your pan before adding the potatoes.





            2 lbs. Red Bliss Potatoes

2 TBSP Olive Oil

½ TBSP chopped fresh Rosemary

½ TBSP chopped fresh Thyme

½ TBSP chopped fresh Sage

½ TBSP chopped Italian Parsley

1 TSP coarse Sea Salt or Kosher Salt

½ TSP ground Black Pepper



  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Line a shallow roasting pan with parchment paper or if your pan is non-stick spray a little cooking oil on the bottom and sides
  3. Cut each Potato in half. Larger potatoes may need to be quartered.
  4. In a large bowl combine the cut Potatoes, Olive Oil, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Parsley, Salt, and Pepper.
  5. With clean hands gently mix all the items in the bowl making sure the oil and seasoning are spread evenly over all the Potatoes.
  6. In a single layer place the Potatoes in the pan
  7. Roast in the oven to desired level, about 25 minutes. If using parchment paper turn the potatoes over just once or not at all during cooking.  If not using parchment paper I recommend turning the potatoes a few times during cooking.

WINE PAIRING:  Since this is a side dish it will more depend on what you are serving as a main dish to find the right wine pairing.  Rosemary and thyme go very well with heavy reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  Sage is more delicate and pairs better with white wine.  Parsley goes well with most wines.  So, you have a lot of options here.





It Is Accomplished

Announcing our first series on Classic Rock Bands.  Every Tuesday I will publish a new recipe related to the subject which will, of course, contain an accompanying wine or other beverage pairing.

If you haven’t subscribed yet please do or if you are having trouble doing so we can send you a tutorial on how to do so.

Be on the lookout next month when I will launch a second series in addition to our Classic Rock Band theme.  Much more to come.  The fun’s just beginning!

Doin That Ragu





Why not begin with our title track recipe?  The Grateful Dead have been a big part of my life for years.  I saw over thirty shows (a paltry number by DeadHead standards) in the eighties and nineties, a handful of Garcia Band and Bob Weir/Rat Dog events, and dozens of post Jerry shows by the surviving members.  Not to mention the countless DVD’s and recordings I purchased and tribute/cover bands I went to hear too.  What better way to honor the band I followed more closely than any other than to name the blog after one of their songs and use for the first entry.

A ragu derives from the French ragout meaning a reinvented stew from pre-used meats and/or vegetables.  The Italians borrowed the idea to dress pasta and through immigration it has mainly come to mean a meat sauce in the United States and that is what we will concentrate on with our ragu.  If you see below I have also included basic recipes for marinara sauce and Italian-American tomato sauce as a point of reference or that you might use with or in place of our ragu sauce.

I am going to construct a very basic ragu for you but done my way.  There are countless variations on how to do a meat sauce.  A lot of you might know it by the name of Bolognese sauce but that is just one type which can also be done several ways.  You can use ground meat or meat on the bone or a combination.  We will only use ground meat in this example.  You can vary which vegetables, herbs, and spices to use too.  You can also do any combination of meats.  Beef is most common but poultry also works well and game like wild boar, rabbit, or ostrich work great too!





            5 TBSP olive oil divided

1 lb. Ground Beef

1 lb. Ground Pork

Salt and Black Pepper to taste

1 cup finely chopped Yellow Onion peeled

½ cup finely chopped Carrot peeled

½ cup finely chopped Celery

1 TBSP finely chopped Garlic peeled

½ cup White Wine

2 x 35 oz. cans Italian Peeled Tomatoes

1 TSP chopped Rosemary

1 TSP chopped Thyme

½ TSP dried Marjoram or Oregano

2 Bay Leaves

½ cup Heavy Cream (optional)

Parmesan or Romano cheese for serving (optional)



  1. In a large bowl empty the contents of both Tomato Cans and with clean hands lightly crush the Tomatoes
  2. In a 4 quart Dutch Oven heat 2 TBSP olive oil over medium heat
  3. Add the Ground Beef and Ground Pork and break apart with a wooden spoon. Brown the meat breaking the meat down into small pieces (about 10 minutes).  Drain in a colander.
  4. In the same pot heat the remaining 3 TBSP olive oil over medium heat
  5. Add Onions, Carrots and Celery and sauté till soft (about 8 minutes)
  6. Add Garlic and a little Salt and Pepper and continue cooking for another 2 minutes
  7. Add Wine and let simmer and reduce by half (about 4 minutes)
  8. Pour in the Tomatoes and be careful of splattering and let cook for a minute or so
  9. Using the empty cans and the empty bowl if you like pour in enough water through the vessels to cover the contents in the Dutch Oven and raise the heat to high
  10. Bring to a boil and then set at a low simmer
  11. Add the Rosemary, Thyme, Marjoram, the Bay Leaves, and season well with Salt and Pepper
  12. Simmer uncovered till reduced and till a nice saucy consistency is achieved (about 2 ½ hours). If sauce reduces too quickly add a little more water to allow it to cook longer.  The art of a good ragu is to let a simmer a long time on the stove.
  13. If you wish to give your sauce a creamy taste add the Heavy Cream after the ragu is finished simmering and simmer a few minutes longer to complete the sauce
  14. Remove the Bay Leaves before serving

Dress your favorite pasta with this sauce and top with the cheese if desired.  It will keep in the fridge for a while or you can freeze part of it.  It also works very well as a filler for any baked pasta dishes like lasagna or manicotti.


WINE PAIRING:  A number of Italian red wines work well with this tomato and meat based dish but my choice would be from Tuscany where Sangiovese is king and marries best with rustic dishes like this.  A Chianti or Tuscan Red blend is recommended.







28 oz. can Italian Peeled Tomatoes

3 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 cup chopped Yellow Onion peeled

4 Garlic Cloves peeled and crushed with the back of a chef’s knife

½ TSP Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Salt and Black Pepper to taste

12 Basil Leaves


  1. Pour Tomatoes into a bowl and crush by hand
  2. Heat the EVOO in a 3-quart sauce pan over medium heat
  3. Add the Onion and sauté for about 3 minutes until soft
  4. Add the Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes and fry for a minute or two but don’t let burn
  5. Add the Tomatoes and bring to a boil
  6. Once boiling reduce to a steady simmer and add Salt and Pepper
  7. Partially cover the pot and let simmer for about 18 minutes
  8. Delicately tear the Basil Leaves into smaller pieces and add to the pot. Let simmer another couple of minutes then remove from the heat and let rest for about one-half hour to an hour.
  9. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired
  10. Transfer the contents to a food processor and pulse about five times to get a nice smooth consistency. I prefer my sauce this way.  If chunky is more your style then ignore this last step.






35 oz. can Italian Peeled Tomatoes

3 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

½ cup finely chopped Yellow Onion peeled

¼ cup finely chopped Carrot peeled

¼ cup finely chopped Celery

1 TBSP finely chopped Garlic peeled

Salt and Black Pepper to taste

¼ TSP Red Pepper Flakes

½ TSP dried Oregano

8 Basil Leaves



  1. Place the contents of the Tomato can into a food processor and pulse about five times to get a smooth consistency
  2. Heat the Olive Oil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat
  3. Add the Onion, Carrot and Celery to the pot and sauté till soft (about 5 minutes)
  4. Add the Garlic and cook for another minute
  5. Season with a little Salt and Pepper
  6. Add the pulsed Tomatoes to the pot and let cook for a minute or two
  7. Using the empty Tomato can add about 1 cup of water sloshing around the outsides to get some of the Tomato juice involved and then add it to the pot and raise the temperature to high
  8. Heat to a boil then let simmer gently
  9. Add the Red Pepper Flakes, the Oregano and season well with Salt and Black Pepper
  10. Simmer uncovered until the sauce is nice and thick to your liking (about 45 minutes)
  11. Just before finishing tear the Basil Leaves into tiny pieces and add to the sauce


Preparing The Way



Thank you, readers, for checking out the blog and all your support for the project.  Now the fun begins!  This coming Tuesday and every Tuesday thereafter I shall publish the first recipe of the first series for the site.  If you haven’t subscribed yet please do.  There is no cost or obligation involved.

Be on the lookout for a second themed series beginning next month in addition to our ongoing Tuesday posts.  I won’t reveal the theme until then for the next series but our first theme beginning this week will be ……… CLASSIC ROCK BANDS!  Yes, each week I will publish a uniquely designed recipe based on some connection to a specific band.  It could be the name of a song or album title or it could have something related to a band member.  Let your imagination run wild.  That is what we are trying to do here.  Have some fun with our themes and make some great food at the same time.  And always keep you guessing as to what’s coming next!  And always a great wine or beverage recommendation to help wash it down.

But why stop there?  Occasionally, I will post some additional information to our themed recipes.  These will be some commentaries about seasonal foods, dining suggestions, maybe some travel and of course WINE!  There are no limits to what we can accomplish on this site together so if anyone ever has a question or a comment that I feel should be shared with everyone I may bring that up too.  As long as we stay on topic and promise not to do anything controversial or something that might offend anyone it is open for discussion.  The point is just to have fun with this and be creative as possible.  I am just the Magic Bus driver taking you on this culinary journey.




Not For DeadHeads Only

I created DoinThatRagu because of my love for food and wine.  Each week I will publish new personalized recipes each with its own theme created by me.  My ambition is to show the public all the fun you can have with food and how to match it up with your favorite beverage.  For me that is mostly wine and not only will I publish recipes created by me with specific varietals to pair at your choosing I will also give some background on the types of foods used in the recipes but also on the wines and their regions.  And, of course, some commentary on the themes themselves.

The themes will focus on some of things I am passionate about in addition to food and wine.  Be on the lookout for recipes based on Classic Rock N Roll bands (not just The Grateful Dead), National Football League cities, country specific international cuisine, driving tours, golf, literature, etc.  There is no limit to what kind of fun you can have creating themes for your food preparation.  My aim is to show each one of my readers what you can do and get you started so you can do the same at home for your family and friends and whoever else is coming to dinner!

I must confess I knew very little about food and wine until I was well into my thirties.  I was not a very good eater as a child.  I did work at a very prestigious wine retailer during my summers off from college and learned a great deal about the business and developed a passion for wine but that did not awaken again until much later in life.  After becoming a successful trader on Wall Street I had to add a few hobbies to my portfolio.  I got exposed to some of the best restaurants not only in Manhattan but all over the country and the world thanks to working in a global environment and with the help of a few very sophisticated friends and colleagues I recognized that I too had a real taste for some of the finer things in life.

I started collecting wine from all over the world and learning more about different grapes and regions.  I became increasingly interested.  I just had to find the right combinations and pairings just the way the great sommeliers did.  I quickly realized this was where the real fun was.  But it wasn’t limited to just the right sauternes to be linked to the right dish of foie gras.  What about the perfect pairing for the perfect burger or plate of macaroni and cheese?  Well the truth is somewhere in between and we will have a lot of fun matching wines and other beverages with the meals I create and some I’ve already created and have been serving for years.

So now that I had all this wine in my basement I needed something to do with it.  I turned to my wife and asked her how are we going to match all these great bottles to the food we eat?  “Don’t ask me”, she said, “You got us into this”.  So, it was up to me to learn how to prepare great meals to pair with our great wine.  That certainly doesn’t happen overnight.  All great chefs have a lengthy trial and error period and they all say, “Never be afraid to fail”.  I tried and tried to get things right making mistake after mistake but I always found that even if things weren’t quite right the food always managed to taste pretty good.  You just should keep working at it.  Read books and articles either online or in publications.  It’s a learning process and I am here to help you and provide some entertainment along the way.

I want you to remain curious.  I want you to know the theme but always leave you guessing what’s coming next.  Even if you’re not a football fan or a Shakespeare fan or whatever theme I’m currently on it has no bearing on what the next recipe might incorporate.  My aim is to show you the fun you can have with preparing theme based meals and to help give you some advice in the kitchen, the pantry, and the wine cellar.

Stephen Montfort Melchior