A flavorful sauce made with freshly roasted tomatoes, garlic and onions. Topped with eggs, cooked in the sauce itself. Eggs in Purgatory is a dish that comes from Southern Italy and that is loved worldwide, eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
Eggs and Tomatoes remind me of the first dish I ever cooked. I was probably 9 or 10 and in a schoolbook there was a “recipe” for scrambled eggs with tomato sauce, so I wanted to try it myself.
That is the first time I remember cooking and it was not bad! I always loved scrambled eggs but never tried them with tomatoes before. It was something new, something delicious, something that I made.
What are Eggs in Purgatory?
Eggs in Purgatory, “Uova in Purgatorio” in Italian and “Ova ‘mpriatorio” in Neapolitan dialect, are a classic peasant dish from Southern Italy, most precisely from Naples.
Originally, the eggs were cooked in the leftover Neapolitan Ragù, to finish it up the next day, if it wasn’t enough to use it with pasta. Nowadays, the recipe evolved and it’s more common to cook the eggs in a simple tomato sauce.
The peculiar name of this dish was chosen because the white of the eggs looks like souls in purgatory, surrounded by red flames, the tomato sauce.
Many compare Eggs in Purgatory with Shakshuka, but they’re quite different, with very different origins. Shakshuka is filled with spices and vegetables and it’s originally from the Middle East.
Which Tomatoes should I use?
Every summer I grow a few varieties of Tomato plants, like San Marzano, Cherry, and Beefsteak tomatoes. So for this recipe, I used all the tomatoes I had available, of all different varieties.
Roasted tomatoes are always delicious, no matter which tomato you use.
Just a word of caution regarding small tomatoes like cherry tomatoes. They’re usually sweet and when roasted they become even sweeter. So I wouldn’t recommend using ONLY sweet tomatoes.
How to Perfectly Roast Tomatoes
Roasted tomatoes are one of the best things of Summer. The flavor of roasted tomatoes is so good that you can add them to almost every dish, like this Pasta with garlic oil and roasted cherry tomatoes, or this delicious Tart with caramelized onions, goat cheese and tomatoes.
Roasting tomatoes is also easier than you think. You might have heard about slow roasting tomatoes in the oven at very low heat for many many hours, but those are called Confit tomatoes and are a completely different thing.
To perfectly roast tomatoes you only need about 30 minutes, a sheet pan, good fresh tomatoes, olive oil and salt. You can also add garlic and onion, like I did in this recipe, but I suggest you to cut the onion in large pieces and keep the garlic in its peel, otherwise they’ll both burn. You can also add other spices like chili pepper, oregano, thyme, and so on. But you might risk burning the spices and then getting a bitter taste.
So, in general, I suggest keeping the tomatoes as simple as possible, with just oil and salt. They will cook and release all their delicious juices and that’s all you want. All the other spices and flavorings can be added at the end.
Roasted Tomatoes Eggs in Purgatory
- 1.3 lb Tomatoes
- 4 Garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 1/2 Onion
- Olive Oil
- Black Pepper
- 4 Eggs
- Preheat the oven at 220°C / 425°F.
- Slice the tomatoes and place them in a large sheet pan. Add the big chunks of onion and the garlic cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle some salt and black pepper.
- Bake the tomatoes for 20-25 minutes.
- Let cool slightly, then squeeze out the garlic to remove the peel. Transfer everything to a blender and blend until you get a smooth sauce.
- Add the sauce to a skillet or large pan, then add the 4 eggs on top of the sauce. Turn on the heat to medium and cover with a lid.
- Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the egg whites are cooked through but the yolks are still runny.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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