Eggs in Purgatory (Uova in Purgatorio)


Eggs in Purgatory. Doesn’t it sound a bit creepy? It definitely stands out as a name for a dish (I have a fascination for things with interesting names). In Italian, it is Uova in Purgatorio. Fun to say aloud. Whatever you call it in wherever country, this is a simple yet satisfying dish. Something rustic and comforting that is great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is the traditional dish for Italians on New Year’s Day and I might just have to make it then too even though I am not Italian!


A rustic dish in which eggs are poached in tomato sauce and topped with basil and Parmigiano.  You could also turn this dish into Eggs in Hell (Uova all’Inferno) if you spice it up with chilies.


I used brown cage-free eggs. I just love brown eggs. How about you?


Normally I don’t follow a recipe when I make this, but here is a guideline.

Eggs in Purgatory or Eggs in Hell

Serves 2-4

  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped (1 small onion)
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 jalapeño peppers or serrano, seeded & chopped (for Eggs in Hell)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1.5-2 cups tomato sauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tablespoon parsley, roughly chopped (you could also use ~1 teaspoon dried, as I did since I didn’t have any fresh herbs)
  • 1/2 tablespoon – 1 tablespoon basil leaves, chiffonade (~1 teaspoon dried is fine, as I also did)
  • Parmigiano Reggiano
  1. In a skillet that is roomy enough for your eggs, heat some oil on medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeño/serrano peppers (if using) red pepper flake, and salt & pepper. Cook until softened and turning brown, around 5 minutes.
  2. Add half of the parsley and half of the basil, then pour in the tomato sauce and bring to a boil. You can thin the sauce with some water or stock if you wish.
  3. Crack each egg into the sauce. I like to crack each egg  first individual in small bowls then pour it into the sauce. Sprinkle some salt & pepper on the eggs and put a lid on the skillet. Lower the heat to a simmer. For yolks that are still runny, cook for 5-6 minutes. Cook it longer if you want the yolks set.
  4. Take the skillet off the heat and garnish with remaining basil, parsley, and a good portion of Parmigiano.


We ate this with some fluffy quinoa for dinner, though it is usually served with good, crusty bread.


Yummy poached eggs still runny.  Reminds me of Pac-Man. Pac- Man in purgatory? Lol.


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