Not to toot my own horn but this might be one of the easiest purgatory eggs recipes (and tastiest) that you’ll ever try! Known as Uova in Purgatorio in Italy, the eggs are cooked in a flavorful thick tomato sauce.
This recipe takes close to no time to prepare and is all made in one pan. For sobbing out loud, there is nothing better than that. Seriously.
I make Purgatory eggs often on Christmas morning, but also whenever the mood strikes or cooking breakfast for a crowd. Or breakfast for dinner. Or when we have a bunch of eggs and I'm hungry.
What are eggs in purgatory?
Eggs in Purgatory is a one-pan dish with poached eggs in a fiery tomato sauce. "Purgatory Eggs" is just a simplified version of Shakshuka.
How did Purgatory Eggs get their name?
The Cult of the Souls of Purgatory became popular among Catholics in Naples in the sixteenth century.
Paintings and frescos depicting souls rescued from the Purgatory flames explained the Cult to the general public.
This recipe was established to represent and revere the Cult even on Neapolitan tables.
The name of this meal all boils down to the eggs signifying "souls" in limbo, as symbolized by the tomato sauce surrounding them. The sauce can be made particularly spicy, representing purgatory.
In case you didn't know- Purgatory is Hell. (But the eggs are really good.)
In Roman Catholic theology, limbo is the location on the threshold between heaven and hell where souls who are denied the joy of eternal life with God in heaven while not sentenced to punishment.
History of eggs in purgatory
Purgatory eggs are from the Naples region of Italy. It's been cooked there for generations, known as Uova in Purgatorio.
The Uova in Purgatorio had quickly spread throughout the country due to its simplicity and deliciousness. This recipe had grown in popularity so fast that only a few people knew its Neapolitan origins.
How to serve purgatory eggs
The best way to eat this easy dish is right out of the oven while it's still hot and bubbling.
This dish is fine served on its own; it’s better served with crusty bread or gluten-free sourdough. Trust me on this.
What are the ingredients for Purgatory eggs?
- Basil leaves
- Tomato puree
- Olive oil
- Romano or Parmesan cheese
Can I make the Purgatory sauce spicy?
Well, duh! Obviously, you can make this sauce as spicy as you'd like. All you have to do is add as many red pepper flakes into the sauce as you want when cooking. I use Calabrian chili flakes when I'm spicing it up.
How long does it take to make this recipe?
It only takes about 20 minutes to make this recipe.
Eggs in Purgatory
- 1 clove crushed garlic
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups canned tomato puree
- 4 fresh basil leaves torn into pieces
- 1 pinch dried oregano
- salt and pepper
- 8 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese or 1 tablespoon Romano cheese
- 2 teaspoon chili flakes optional
- In a medium skillet, cook the garlic in the oil over medium heat for about 2 minutes, or until lightly golden.
- Add the tomato, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened. If you're using chili flakes, stir them in after the sauce has thickened.
- Break an egg into a small cup. With a spoon, make a well in the tomato sauce. Slide the egg into the sauce. Continue with the remaining eggs. Sprinkle with the cheese.
- Cover and cook for 3 minutes, or until the eggs are done to your taste. Serve hot.
Photos by James Collier
Love delicious egg recipes? Check out these recipes!
Are you looking for a simple but beautiful dish? Try my recipe for Delicious Baked Eggs.
Salty prosciutto, nutty Parmesan, and fresh herbs infuse the eggs with flavor. Did I mention they're baked in the oven? It's a simple technique to feed a large group. They can also be completely customized. Don't like spinach? Kale can be substituted. Is prosciutto not your thing? Instead, use ham or bacon. Once you've figured out your favorite combo, I guarantee you'll be making this dish all year.
One of my favorite morning dishes is avocado baked eggs, which I normally top with bacon or roasted red peppers. I also use leftover taco meat (don't judge, it's amazing).
Do you have any leftover filling after stuffing all of your eggs? It's delicious served with chips like conventional guacamole or spread over toast with a generous dusting of Cotija cheese!
Frequently Asked Questions about Egg in Purgatory:
Cumin and sweet paprika are among the Middle Eastern spices used in Shakshuka.
In Eggs in Purgatory, Italian herbs like oregano and basil are used instead of these spices. It's commonly known as "Italian shakshuka."
You can prep the Purgatory sauce beforehand. This makes this easy dish even easier!
Yes, this is a Keto dish. It's the ideal low-carb and keto breakfast.