Saturday, 18 June 2011

Eggs in Purgatory (Uova in Purgatorio)

I first discovered this fabulous Southern Italian dish a few years ago when leafing through our copy of The Sopranos Family Cookbook, which Arivind (being a huge fan of the hit TV show) spotted in a bargain bin at a second hand book store and was compelled to buy. Since then it has become a staple in our Frequently Cooked list- essentially eggs poached in a "purgatorial" rich red tomato sauce, this classic Neapolitan concoction not only tastes good, costs nothing and takes virtually no time or effort, but packs a nutritious punch too! Perfect for those days when you haven't stocked up your cupboard but still want a quick comforting brunch.

Adapt as you wish by adding dried chillies, red pepper flakes or even olives. Non-vegetarians, I highly recommend throwing in a handful of chopped bacon at the start- it's not the done thing but I've discovered it really elevates the flavour to a whole new level.


Eggs in Purgatory (Uova in Purgatorio)
Serves 2-3 (depending on how many eggs each person wants)

Heat a bit of olive oil in a deep pan. Throw in and toss over medium heat briefly until fragrant:
1 clove garlic, smashed
A few fresh basil leaves, torn (or if you don't have it, a sprinkling of dried mixed herbs)
Optional: A handful of chopped bacon, or crushed dried chillies, red pepper flakes, olives, onions...

Pour in roughly 400ml of tomato passata/puree (or however much you need to cover the base of the pan)-
I think canned chopped tomatoes are too watery, but if you only have that just use it
and add 1 tbsp tomato puree. Bring to a simmer.

Season the tomatoes well with salt, then gently break in 6 eggs.

Sprinkle with dried herbs, freshly ground black pepper and
grated parmesan/whatever cheese you feel like.

Cover and simmer over low heat for about 8-10 mins until egg whites are firm but yolk is still runny.

Serve with buttered toast or crusty bread.


  1. Nice. It really is a quick yet proper breakfast/ brunch on Sundays for me. A nice variation is to add some artichokes and flakes ;)

  2. ◙ Yes this recipe is simple yet packs a real flavour punch. You can make it as hot or not as you like depending on your concept of purgatory. I like mine really spicey so it feels as hot as the fires of hell. ◙