Eggs in Purgatory

Eggs in Purgatory

This simple egg and tomato sauce combo, often likened to the Latin huevos rancheros, originated in Naples, Italy, as uova al purgatorio

You can make your own marinara sauce by simmering a 28 oz. can of crushed red tomatoes with a little olive oil and thinly slice garlic for about 10 minutes.  But a jar of good quality store-bought marinara will work just as well and reduce your dinner-making time down to about 20 minutes.

If your tomato sauce is too thick, just thin it with a few tablespoons of water.  If you don't want to include the pancetta or any other pork fat, you can substitute a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  Or simply skip this step entirely and only use tomato sauce.  But in any case, make sure the sauce is hot before adding the eggs so that they will begin to cook immediately.

Serve this with a heap of broccoli rabe or other green vegetable and thick pieces of grilled bread and you'll skip purgatory and go right to heaven.



  1. Using a large sauté pan or skillet that has a cover, add the pancetta or guanciale and over a medium heat, render it until it softens and the lean cooks through and the fat is opaque but not brown.
  2. Add the tomato sauce, a small pinch of red pepper flakes and a generous pinch of dried oregano, warming the oregano between your fingers before adding. Stir to combine and bring to a gentle simmer.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, into the sauce so that each egg settles onto the sauce but isn't covered. You want the yolks to remain exposed.
  4. Cover the pan. Reduce the heat to medium low so that the sauce softly simmers but doesn't boil.
  5. Cook for about 5 minutes until the egg whites are cooked completely but the yolks are still runny.
  6. Serve immediately with a dusting of freshly grated cheese and spears of toasted bread that can be dipped in the runny egg yolk and tomato sauce.

Serve two eggs per person as a main course.





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