This delicious soup recipe came to me courtesy of my niece Jeanette’s husband Barry. Barry is one of New York City’s Bravest. He used to make this soup for his crew at the fire house he worked at in Brooklyn. It’s quick to make and really sticks to your ribs. When you’re cooking for your fire company it needs to be quick because you never know when an alarm might be called in. You can adjust the heat to your likeness. I like the bite the red pepper flakes give to this soup. Barry likes it really hot, then again, this is a man that runs into burning buildings….ya gotta like it hot!
Barry and Jeanette have four beautiful children and when they were much younger we used to share a house down the shore together with me and my two boys, my sister Annette and her husband Artie and my other niece Elaine with her four children. So we had 10 children between the ages of 2 and 14, and 6 adults spending a week down in Lavalette New Jersey in a three bedroom house by the beach. Did I say this was a vacation? I didn’t really complain because the price was right. Actually I didn’t have to pay anything, my sister and Artie invited me and my boys down to spend the week with them. All I had to do was cook dinner every now and again, which I didn’t mind at all……and enjoy spending a week at a day care center.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind being around children, after all, I raised two boys. But they were older now, around 10 and 14. I was over and done with the diaper years and screaming years, the crying years, the running around the house wild years and tantrum years. I was over that. So when I was spending a week with the brood I really didn’t want to deal with any of that. At least not for any extended period of time. And let’s face it, while you’re at the beach you’re in wide open spaces so the acoustics of screaming children does not penetrate your brain as deeply. Every once in a while they would be drowned out by the seagulls and crashing waves. For the most part my nieces and their husbands would be running after the children along with my sister and Artie. So I was usually left alone to enjoy the beautiful summer days with my boys.
Except for this one morning. I had just finished preparing breakfast for the “Brady Bunch”, we would eat in shifts because there was only so much room at the table. My two sons were still asleep somewhere in the house, they must have found a quite spot because they were not awake. My sister Annette was cleaning up the breakfast dishes and my two neices were going through the process of getting the gaggle of children ready for the day.
What a great opportunity to spend some quiet time alone on the beach!
Without talking to anyone in fear of giving up my plan, I changed into my bathing suit and gathered my beach bag and blanket and slipped out of the house unnoticed. There it was before me, a beautiful stretch of beach with the sun rising over the horizon. Quiet and alone. The waters were calm and the lapping of the surf was gentle and relaxing. Ah…alone at last. I lied out my blanket and lay back facing the ocean with a rolled up towel propped under my head. The morning sun felt good on my face and I dug my toes into the cool morning sand. I could actually hear myself breathing.
I must have dozed for a second or two, or so it seemed. Then I started to hear digging in the sand behind my head. For a moment I thought I was dreaming and then I realized there was someone behind me. I rolled over onto my stomach and looked up in front of me. There kneeling inches behind me was little Megan playing with her beach pail and shovel. I looked to the left, then looked to the right, then looked all around me. It was only Megan and I on the beach. What was she doing here? Where was my niece? I thought it was odd. ‘Megan” I asked, “what are you doing here alone? Where is your mother?” I naturally assumed that Megan had gotten out of the house and came to the beach alone. I immediately pick up my cell phone from my beach bag and called the house to tell my sister that one of the children escaped. And more importantly, send someone out here to watch her!!!!
My sister Annette answered the phone. “Annette! Did you know Megan is on the beach alone??!!??” My sister didn’t seem too concerned and said she would be out here shortly. Before I hung up the phone Caitlyn was coming over the sand duns with her little beach tube, swimmies and pail heading right towards us. Wait a minute, I thought, what the heck is going on here. Behind Caitlyn was little Patrick and his sister Krista. One by one the house was unloading and all the children were marching straight for me and my blanket.
I called the house again. This time when my sister answered the phone she was laughing hysterical. “Hellooo”, she said. “What are all the kids doing here on the beach?” I asked, while Megan was walking all over my clean blanket with her sand filled feet. “We’ll be there in a little while”, my sister giggled, ” It’s nice and quite here”. Before I knew it I was hanging up the phone and running after Patrick who was making a bee line for the surf.
This was wrong. This was very wrong.
Sausage Tortellini Soup
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 3 quarts of low sodium chicken stock
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, according to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 1 pound cheese tortellini
In a large sauce pan add the sausage and fill with water just to cover the sausage. Prick each sausage in three places with a fork on each side. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, cooking the sausage for about five minutes to render out most of the fat. Drain the water from the pot and over medium heat add the olive oil to the sausage and brown on all sides. When browned, remove the sausage and cool.
Cut the sausage into 1/4 inch slices and set aside.
In a large soup pot melt butter and saute onions till soft. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the chicken stock and and bring to a simmer. Add the scallions, red pepper flakes, basil and bay leaves.
While the soup is boiling add the sausage and tortellini, stir well and boil for 5 minutes or until tortellini is done.