Eggs in Purgatory (Uova in Purgatorio)

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These Eggs in Purgatory are a quick and easy dish ideal for breakfast or brunch, but also for lunch or dinner. It’s a one-pan dish where eggs are poached in a simple tomato sauce. It’s ready in less than 30 minutes, it’s naturally gluten-free and it’s perfect to add to your Meal Plan or Batch Cooking.

A pan with eggs in tomato sauce called eggs in Purgatory

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What do I need to make eggs in Purgatory

To make these eggs in Purgatory, you need a medium skillet with a lid and a few ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.

For the sauce, you can chop fresh tomatoes into cubes, you can use store-bought, chopped natural tomatoes or you can even use cherry tomatoes that tend to keep their shape.

The original Italian recipe doesn’t call for spicy, but if you prefer spicy food, you can add some chili peppers. If you use any hot sauce, read the label to make sure it’s only made with natural ingredients and has no added sugar or sweeteners.

How do I serve them

I usually avoid eating bread, but as a born and raised Italian, I do love to soak bread in tomato sauce and sop up what’s left – as we say in Italian, “fare la scarpetta” – lick the plate clean with bread.

However, another option is to serve it over polenta or on a bed of quinoa, bulgur or buckwheat.

A pan with eggs in tomato sauce called eggs in Purgatory

Why are they called eggs in Purgatory

It seems that, as an authentic Italian dish, it gets its name from a reference to the most famous Italian literature piece from the 14th century: The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.

In its journey from Hell (Inferno) to Heaven (Paradiso), Dante writes about Purgatory and describes what souls need to go through before they can be purified and gain access to Heaven.

In one of the described scenes, white souls are trying to escape red flames; this is exactly what eggs in Purgatory look like. The eggs turned white, looking like the souls and the tomato sauce looks like the red flames that they are trying to escape.

What’s the difference between eggs in Purgatory and Shakshuka

There are many variations of eggs in Purgatory in different countries around the Mediterranean Sea.

One that is nowadays known internationally is called Shakshuka, and it’s also based on eggs in a tomato sauce.

Eggs in Purgatory has few ingredients and no spices; however, Shakshuka calls for chili peppers, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg.

How to make eggs in Purgatory

STEP BY STEP PICTURES ON HOW TO MAKE THESE EGGS IN PURGATORY

Chop the onion and garlic.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil into a skillet over medium heat. Once the olive oil becomes more liquid, add the onion and garlic and cook until golden brown.

Stir in 4 cups of tomatoes

Add 4 leaves of basil

Add ¼ teaspoon of salt, ⅛ teaspoon of pepper and ¼ teaspoon of cane sugar. Place the lid, allowing steam to get out and turn the heat to medium-low.

Let the tomato sauce thicken for about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the type of tomatoes you are using.

Break an egg into a small bowl and, with the help of a wooden spoon, make an indention in the tomato sauce and place the egg carefully. Repeat with all of the eggs.

Cover the skillet and let cook until the eggs are set to taste. For a runny yolk, let it cook for 3 minutes. The longer you cook them, the harder they will become. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add more basil for color and taste, and serve hot.

Toast some bread while the eggs are cooking.

Remove the skillet from the heat. Add more basil for color and taste, and serve hot.

WATCH THE VIDEO OF HOW TO MAKE THESE EGGS IN PURGATORIO (70 sec)

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If you have a cast iron skillet, you can bake the eggs in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes until the egg whites are set, but the yolks are still runny.

Some tips to make these perfectly

To avoid breaking the eggs, open them first, one by one, into a small bowl and then place them carefully into the tomato sauce.

A little amount of sugar used for the tomato sauce is the trick to eliminating the acidity of the tomatoes. Every Italian knows that, so don’t skip it 😉

Why do I consider this recipe to be healthy

EGGS

In my Mirza Ghassemi post, another recipe that calls for eggs, I’ve extensively written about the benefit of eggs.

It has been demonstrated that they help to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases, they can revert metabolic syndrome, if associated with a low-carbohydrate diet, and they contain all of the essential amino acids needed by our body.

They have been shown to be also a good source of antioxidants that protect our eyes, and they are a natural source of vitamin D.

TOMATOES

As in other red fruits and vegetables, tomatoes contain a high concentration of lycopene, a lipid-soluble carotenoid molecule with significant anti-oxidative activity.

It has been shown that lycopene works as an inhibitor of various tumors, and there is evidence that shows that lycopene-rich foods reduce the incidence of a few types of cancer, especially prostate cancer.

Tomatoes also contain α-tomatine that has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in vitro, as well as tumor growth in vivo.

A pan with eggs in tomato sauce called eggs in Purgatory

How can these eggs in Purgatory be stored and how long do they last

Eggs in Purgatory are at their best as soon as they are done. However, if there is any left, they can also be eaten the day after. Just store the leftovers in a glass, airtight container.

If you were thinking of adding this recipe to your Meal Plan or Batch Cooking, you can definitely prepare a big amount of tomato sauce and store it for 4 to 5 days. When you want to have your eggs in Purgatory, you’ll just need to rewarm the sauce and cook the eggs then.

Can I make eggs in Purgatory with different ingredients?

You will find many variations online for eggs in Purgatory. Some recipes call for parmesan cheese, whereas some others add legumes; such as chickpeas or beans, as a plant-based protein that will keep you full longer.

And if you usually crave spicy food, you can add the quantity of chili peppers you desire.

Here are more healthy recipes with eggs that you might like:

Mish Mash

Mirza Ghasemi

Now it’s your turn: Have you ever heard about eggs in Purgatory before? Do you think you will give this recipe a try? I’d love to hear from you and, if you have any questions, just drop me a line in the comments below.

As always, I appreciate you stopping by my blog, and if you think this post might help someone you know to make another step to a healthier lifestyle, please don’t hesitate to share it away!

Happy Healthy Eating!

A big hug,


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Eggs in Purgatory (Uova in Purgatorio)

A pan with eggs in tomato sauce called eggs in Purgatory

These Eggs in Purgatory are a quick and easy dish ideal for breakfast or brunch, but also for lunch or dinner. It’s a one-pan dish where eggs are poached in a simple tomato sauce. It’s ready in less than 30 minutes, it’s naturally gluten-free and it’s perfect to add to your Meal Plan or Batch Cooking.

  • Author: Claudia Canu
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 30 min
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: Brunch
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Italian
Scale

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 big cloves of garlic

1 Spring onion or other type

4 cups (800 g) of chopped tomatoes  

4 basil leaves

¼ teaspoon of salt

⅛ teaspoon of black pepper

¼ teaspoon of cane sugar

5 eggs

Instructions

1. Chop the onion and garlic.

2. Add 1 tablespoon of oil into a skillet over medium heat. Once the olive oil becomes more liquid, add the onion and garlic and cook until golden brown.

3. Stir in 4 cups of tomatoes, add 4 leaves of basil, ¼ teaspoon of salt, ⅛ teaspoon of pepper and ¼ teaspoon of cane sugar. Place the lid, allowing steam to get out and turn the heat to medium-low.

4. Let the tomato sauce thicken for about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the type of tomatoes you are using.

5. Break an egg into a small bowl and, with the help of a wooden spoon, make an indention in the tomato sauce and place the egg carefully. Repeat with all of the eggs.

6. Cover the skillet and let cook until the eggs are set to taste. For a runny yolk, let it cook for 3 minutes. The longer you cook them, the harder they will become.

7. Toast some bread while the eggs are cooking.

8. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add more basil for color and taste, and serve hot.

Keywords: vegetarian, eggs, brunch, breakfast, healthy, tomato sauce, easy, meal plan

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10 responses to “Eggs in Purgatory (Uova in Purgatorio)”

  1. Beth says:

    I have always wanted to make eggs in purgatory! I love learning the history of this dish! I thought the purgatory part was a reference to spicy heat! I can’t wait to make this!

  2. Lesli Schwartz says:

    I’ve been wanting to make this for the blog, but more along the Shakshuka style given the spicy chili, etc. Your version looks so amazing!

  3. Amanda Wren-Grimwood says:

    I’ve never tried this but the recipe looks so deliciously simple and perfect for a meat free night.

  4. Laura says:

    I am very lucky for good breakfast recipes today! Poaching eggs in a tomato sauce has never let me down, so I assume this recipe is a winner. And the fact that it is healthy, too, makes it a really good choice.

  5. Brian Jones says:

    Such a great versatile dish, I make all sorts of twists on this and they are all fantastic. Although it is always a light lazy day dinner dish usually shared between my wife and I from a cast iron skillet and lots of crusty bread.

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