Italian Regional Recipes Secondi Piatti: Meat, Fish, Eggs, Cheese

Traditional Neapolitan Eggs ‘in Purgatory’

These eggs are a traditional preparation from the Southern region of Campania. Their odd name seems to be referring to the fact that the white eggs, sorrounded by the red tomato sauce, look like the Purgatory’s damned souls, wrapped in flames. Quite an intense name for such an easy and quick dish!

This preparation was probably devised as a tasty way to use leftover Neapolitan Ragout, but in this recipe we show you how to make them from scratch, preparing the tomato sauce right before cooking the eggs.

Serves: 2 | Preparation time: 5 mins | Cooking time: 20 mins

  • Tomato sauce: 200 ml
  • Eggs: 2-4
  • Garlic: 1-2 cloves
  • Extra virgin olive oil: 3 tbsp
  • Optional – Parsley or basil, fresh: to taste
  • Salt and pepper: to taste


Peel the garlic.

Heat up the oil in a saucepan and brown the garlic.

Remove the garlic from the oil, pour in the tomato sauce and season to taste. Add parsley or basil and leave the sauce to cook for 15-20 minutes.

Use a big spoon to push the sauce aside and create small holes in which to break the eggs. You will need as many holes as the eggs you want to prepare. Break the eggs directly in the tomato sauce.

Tip: Be careful not to break the yolks! These are not scrambled eggs and the yolk should not be mixed with the tomato sauce until it’s in your plate.

Cover the pan with a lid and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, without stirring.

Turn off the heat and remove the lid as soon as the white of the eggs is cooked through. The yolks should still be a bit runny, so you should never cook the eggs for more than 10 minutes.

Season to taste with black pepper and serve warm.

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