Eggs In Purgatory are eggs poached in a thick, flavorful, and quick tomato sauce. It’s a simple and economical Italian dish that can be enjoyed for a special breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This dish is truly spectacular!
The method of how the eggs are cooked are pretty much consistent with the varying recipes from different cultures. The eggs are poached in a simple yet flavorful tomato sauce until the whites are set. Then, the eggs are removed from the pan, topped with some of the sauce, garnished, and served as is or with crusty bread. You can make it for 1 or 6 and any remaining sauce can be saved for another time.
Eggs In Purgatory (Uova In Purgatorio) – eggs trapped between heaven and hell. The eggs represent the souls wanting to be purified, and the flames represent purgatory.
Everyone has their own way of making the tomato sauce for this dish. This one is basically my quick simple tomato sauce spiced with red pepper flakes to give it heat and oregano for added flavor. You don’t need anything else added as this dish is incredibly good. While taking photos, I had to keep poaching eggs because I couldn’t help but eat. The temptation was too great. It was like being in purgatory myself, then straight up to heaven after having a bite.
In a 10 – 12” skillet, saute onions and garlic in a good amount of extra virgin olive oil. Stir in some added spices and add the tomatoes. In about 10 minutes, the sauce will darken, thicken, and be hot enough for poaching the eggs.
When the sauce is hot and bubbles start to plop, it’s time to add the eggs. The sauce needs to be hot enough to poach the eggs. Depending on the level of the heat on your cooktop, this could take 5 to 10 minutes.
Make an indentation with the back of a spoon for each egg. Carefully crack the eggs in the pan making sure they do not touch. Sprinkle the tops with a little salt and pepper. Cover the pan, lower the heat, and let the eggs cook for about 4 to 5 minutes. You want the egg whites set but the yolks still runny for that crunchy delicious toast to soak up with the tomato sauce.
Speaking of bread, drizzle a slice of crusty bread, either Italian or whichever you like, with a little olive oil. Place under the broiler for a minute or until golden and crispy. Use it to dip into the thick spicy sauce and scoop the golden yellow yolk. Yum!
This serves 1 – 6 people depending on how many eggs you use. Refrigerate or freeze any remaining sauce for another time. When you’re craving an incredible simple dish, simply reheat the sauce until bubbly and hot before cracking the eggs into the sauce. If you do plan on saving some sauce for later, I recommend using a smaller skillet, otherwise the sauce will be too shallow. As I stated earlier, I enjoyed an egg (or two) before snapping a picture and was running low on sauce. Honestly, for the first picture above, I had to move all the remaining sauce to one side because of my inability to wait to enjoy this delicious dish. I caved to temptation. I’m sorry.
This makes an fantastic breakfast, lunch, or dinner and the best part is it’s done in under 30 minutes. I urge you to give this a try.
Want some other great Italian dishes? Try:
- Stuffed Peppers with Sausage and Mozzarella
- Creamy Fettuccine with Peas and Ham
- Baked Rigatoni with Three Cheeses
- Angel Hair with Sautéed Tomatoes
Go, enjoy. Be happy, eat well.
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion finely chopped ~ ½ cup
- 3 medium garlic cloves minced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper optional, but recommended
- 1 28 ounce can ground peeled tomatoes
- 6 to 8 basil leaves torn
- 6 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- Freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese optional
- 1 - 6 slices of crusty Italian bread or bread of choice
- Olive oil
In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the onions in the olive oil for about 5 - 7 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two being careful not to brown.
Stir in the salt, garlic powder, oregano, pepper, and red pepper.
Slowly add the crushed tomatoes and basil and bring to a simmer. Cook for about ten minutes stirring occasionally. Since it’s expected that the tomatoes will splatter, place a cover over the skillet slightly askew allows the sauce to thicken slightly. You may have to lower the heat if the sauce boils rapidly. The purpose is to cook the sauce and raise the temperature to a simmer enough to cook the eggs.
Make a small indentation with a spoon in the sauce for each egg and carefully crack the eggs in, making sure they do not touch each other. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook 4 - 5 minutes, until the whites have set but the yolks are still runny. Be careful not to overcook eggs as you want the yolks runny.
While the eggs are cooking, drizzle a little oil on the bread and place under the broiler or toaster oven until golden.
Remove cover from skillet and check if whites are set and yolks still giggly. Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with the cheese, and finish with the chopped parsley.
To serve, scoop out the eggs and sauce. Serve with toasted bread for dipping.