My Eggs in Purgatory is a flavorful, easy-to-make dish that will have you looking like a superstar in your kitchen. This classic Southern Italian dish is perfect for brunch, lunch, or even dinner. Made using pantry staples, this dish is sure to impress!
What can be better than farm fresh eggs, perfectly poached in a hearty tomato sauce, served with crusty bread? Eggs in purgatory was one of the dishes I fell in love with on my first trip to Naples so many years ago. The restaurant I first sampled it at, referred to it simply as Italian eggs.
The robust tomato sauce paired with those soft-cooked eggs was simply heaven on a plate. Just make sure you have enough bread to soak up that delicious sauce.
Some people call Eggs in Purgatory Italian Shakshuka. And honestly, although my recipe isn’t a traditional shakshuka, it’s pretty close to its North African counterpart. The differences are mostly in the seasonings and will vary depending on the part of the world the recipe comes from.
If you love dishes made with eggs, why not try my Huevos Rancheros? It’s not made with red tomato sauce, but it is ah-mazingly delicious!
Ingredients to make Eggs in Purgatory
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make Eggs in Purgatory. In Chef Speak, this is called the “Mise en Place,” which translates to “Everything in its Place.”
Not only does setting up your ingredients ahead of time speed up the cooking process, it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
How to make Eggs in Purgatory
- Add olive oil to a cast iron skillet (or large skillet) over medium heat. Then add the chopped onion and chopped red bell peppers to the hot pan.
- Cook the veggies for 4-5 minutes until soft.
- Add the chopped fresh garlic, cumin powder, sweet paprika, and red pepper flakes to the pan.
- Mix the seasonings into the veggies and cook for one minute. Continue to stir the mixture while it’s cooking so the spices don’t burn.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and grated Romano (or parmesan cheese) to the pan.
- Mix the tomatoes and cheese into the mixture until fully combined, then season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Bring the mixture to a light boil, then reduce the heat to low and add the chopped fresh cilantro and two teaspoon of chopped fresh parsley to the mixture and simmer for 10 minutes. (Reserve one teaspoon chopped parsley to garnish)
- Use the back of a spoon to make six small wells in the sauce.
- Crack the large eggs, one into each well.
- Cover the pan and let the eggs cook for 5-8 minutes or until the eggs are done to your liking. I like my eggs with a runny yolk, so I cook mine just until the egg whites are cooked, about 4-5 minutes. *Times may vary depending on the pan and the heat.
*If you’re not a fan of cilantro, use fresh basil instead. If you like a fiery tomato sauce, add additional spicy red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to the sauce.
Eggs in Purgatory is a simple and delicious savory egg dish that can be customized to suit your taste preferences. Whether you prefer the delicious tomato sauce spicy or mild, with cheese or without, this dish is something your whole family will love!
Eggs in Purgatory, called “Uova in Purgatorio” in Italian, originated from the Naples region of Italy. Due to the popularity of the dish, the recipe spread across the other regions of Italy.
The name Eggs in Purgatory came from the Catholic Faith’s purgatory. The baked eggs represent “souls,” and the tomato sauce surrounding them represents “Purgatory,” the big idea being that the souls are suspended between heaven and hell. In this case, it’s the eggs suspended in the sauce.
Shakshuka is an African dish originating in Tunisia. It’s also popular in Turkey, where it’s called Menemen. The name “shakshuka” actually means all mixed up in the Tunisian dialect, which explains the recipe for this comfort food.
Eggs in Purgatory is an Italian dish originating in Naples. The basics are the same as Shakshuka, with the difference being in the spices used to create each dish.