Sophisticated Comfort Food

Chef Michael Mina first received national attention more than 10 years ago with the opening of San Francisco's renowned seafood restaurant, "Aqua." He has since opened five other restaurants and was named Chef of the Year in 2005 by Bon Appetit magazine.

Chef Mina's newest project is "Stonehill Tavern" in Monarch Beach, Calif., which turns out sophisticated comfort food. For The Saturday Early Show's Chef on a Shoestring, he prepares a menu for four, on our $40 budget.


Parmigiano-Reggiano: Italy's preeminent Parmesan cheese. It's aged much longer than domestic parmesans and has a more complex flavor, as well as grainier texture.

Broccolinni: A cross between broccoli and Chinese kale. This bright green vegetable has long, slender stalks topped with a bouquet of tine buds that resemble a miniature broccoli head. The flavor is sweet, with a subtle, peppery edge.

Streusel: Chef Mina makes a streusel topping, which he cooks separately and sprinkles over his sautéed apples. Streusel is a crumbly topping of flour, sugar, butter and spices that is sprinkled on coffeecakes, breads and muffins. The word is German for "sprinkle" or "strew."


Roasted Tomato Soup

12 Roma tomatoes, quartered
1 yellow onion, sliced
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 quarts chicken stock
1/2 bunch basil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1) Toss the tomatoes, onions, and garlic in the olive oil and place into a roasting pan. Place into a 325° oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables have slight color and are tender. (If you prefer, you can also cook the vegetables slowly over medium low heat until they're cooked down.)
2) Place all vegetables into a large pot. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for about three minutes. Add in the basil and stock.
3. Bring the pot to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes.
4. Using an immersion blender or a standard blender puree the soup until smooth.
5. Strain soup.
6. Adjust the seasonings to taste and serve.