February 8, 2012

Seeing Red

I have to admit that I was a bit worried while I was preparing last night's dinner.  I have wanted to try a dish called "Eggs in Purgatory" for a while and decided to take a risk and hope that it would turn out ok.  I knew Mike would try it, just didn't know if he would enjoy it.

There are many different stories of how this dish got its name, but this was the best explanation I could find (source):

According to Jeanne CarĂ²la Francesconi, the doyenne of Neapolitan cookery, the eccentric name of this dish come from the notion that the eggs floating in the red sauce look like so many souls dancing among the flames of Purgatory. It also goes by the more prosaic name of uova al pomodoro, or eggs in tomato sauce.

With a crazy sort of name, I was just praying that it would be edible (we do always have cereal on hand in case dinner takes a turn for the worse).  I love eggs and think they are a great alternative to a meaty meal every now and then, even though this is not your typical egg dish.  When most people hear that it is eggs poached or baked in tomato sauce they squirm and let out a big, "Eww"...but they shouldn't!!!


The verdict?  DELICIOUS!  Served with grilled pieces of multi grain bread and turkey sausage this meal was a winner, and better yet, super quick and inexpensive! 

This dish felt so fancy, like we had just been served at an Italian trattoria.



Eggs in Purgatory

Print this recipe!

yields 2 servings

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 batch homemade tomato sauce or a jar of your favorite store bought spaghetti sauce
  • 4 turkey sausage patties
  • 1 multi grain baguette or bread of choice

Make homemade tomato sauce or heat up store bought version.  I used store bought  (Prego Traditional), but sauteed onions and garlic and added a bit of tomato paste and Laughing Cow Garlic and Herb Spreadable Cheese wedges (I was out of cream cheese) for extra flavor and thickness to the sauce.  This was the first time that I had used the cheese wedges and it turned out delicious.

Heat the cheese and tomato paste to help it melt and then mix with the onions and garlic.  Add about a 1/2 cup of the spaghetti sauce to incorporate the ingredients before adding the rest of the sauce.

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At this point you can do one of two things.  You can leave the sauce in the saute pan and crack the eggs on top and simmer on the stove until the eggs are cooked through, or transfer sauce into individual baking dishes and bake in the oven for the desired doneness.


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Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12, minutes or until the whites are opaque and the yolks are slightly runny.

I topped with salt and pepper before putting the dishes in the oven and then added a bit of Parmesan cheese as they finished baking just before serving.

Bon Apeptit!


The only thing I found to be a little tough about this recipe was trusting the cooking time for the eggs.  I tried 400 degrees for 12-14 minutes but then when I shook the dish to see if they were set it was a bit shaky, so I thought the eggs were still runny underneath even though the top was opaque. 

I forgot that there was tomato sauce underneath that was moving...oops!  Next time I will actually take it out and check the eggs. 

Therefore, the yolks were pretty firm (don't like that word, but fits the description) but still tasted good.  The desired effect would be slightly runny yolks with the whites cooked through.  I guess I'll have to make it again soon!

1 comment:

  1. Going to make this for dinner tomorrow night. One question: At what point in the recipe do you cook/add the turkey patties?