Eggs in Purgatory

4 Servings

25 minutes

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Eggs in purgatory—ova ’mpriatorio in the local dialect—is a Neapolitan classic. The whites of the eggs surrounded by the red of the tomato sauce are said to resemble religious depictions of souls in the fires of purgatory. An alternate explanation for the name of the dish is, simply, the spiciness of the sauce. Our version has a medium, warming heat. For more bite, add ¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes along with the tomatoes. Or, if you prefer, tame the heat by seeding the chili before slicing it. Serve with crusty bread.




Don’t overcook the garlic. If the garlic goes past lightly browned, it may leave an acrid flavor in the sauce, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and underdo it rather than overdo it. Also, don’t forget to taste and season the sauce with salt and pepper before adding the eggs. Once the eggs go in, the sauce cannot be stirred.

25 minutes



David E.

Delicious recipe, with all the elements in balance! Couldn't Purgatory also suggest that the eggs are in an in-between state, whites firm, yolks runny? Purgatory is, after all, a place between heaven and hell and not--as so often implied--hell itself.