Eggs in Purgatory

Recipes have returned! I used to post recipes/Italian food weekly, which I stopped for various reasons. But readers loved them. So I’ve decided to give them a comeback, specializing in cost-effective dishes for the hard times we’re all facing. Hope you enjoy them and that they’ll help with your budget cooking!

Eggs in Purgatory is a delicious down-home Italian recipe from the Naples area. The strange name originates from the Catholic tradition of purgatory where souls remain suspended between heaven and hell. The idea being that the eggs represent souls and the red sauce the red hot flames of purgatory.

Purgatory Eggs

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Print

Usually served with bread, we think they’re also great over rice or polenta!

These yummy eggs are a family favorite in our house, and so easy because I often use leftover spaghetti sauce. But don’t worry, this recipe also includes how to make your own simple sauce.


  • 4 fresh eggs
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (28 oz.)
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • Basil, oregano, and parsley (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated


  1. Heat oil and garlic in large skillet and cook just until garlic turns golden brown.
  2. Add salt, pepper, and seasonings.
  3. Add tomatoes, squash, and cook over low heat about 10 minutes.
  4. Mix basil, garlic, and pine nuts together and blend lightly using mortar and pestle.
  5. Make 4 spaces in the tomato sauce and crack a whole egg into each of them, being careful to leave them whole. To ensure the eggs remain whole, crack them one at a time into a small cup or bowl and then pour into the sauce.
  6. Cover and cook about 8 minutes, until the whites are set but the yolks are still soft and a bit runny.
  7. Sprinkle with cheese.
  8. Serve immediately with toasted bread.

These yummy eggs have always been a family favorite in our house. Simple, nutritious, economical and yummy!

🍷 Suggested wine:


Following the adage “If it grows together it goes together,” I like matching dishes with wines from their area of origin. And this full-bodied dry red wine from the Naples area with its musky berry flavors makes a perfect match!

🥂 Cin-cin (or cheers) and buon appetito!

Images: Sauce eggs & ingredients | Sauce eggs | Emojis.

8 thoughts on “Eggs in Purgatory

    1. I think we all fall into menu ruts, Dayle. I know we do. It’s quick, easy, nutritious, and we like it so we do it all the time. But variety can really add a lot!! Enjoy!


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