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

Traditional Neapolitan Eggs ‘in Purgatory’

Uova in Purgatorio tradizionali napoletane, their odd name seems to be referring to the whites sorrounded by the red tomato sauce, looking like the Purgatory’s damned souls wrapped into 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, peeled
  • Extra virgin olive oil: 3 tbsp
  • Optional – Parsley or basil, fresh: to taste
  • Salt and pepper: to taste


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

Pour in the tomato sauce, 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 as they shouldn’t be mixed with the tomato sauce.

Cover the pan with a lid and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, do not stir.

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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