You've never had eggs in purgatory like this! Hardboiled eggs, fried in good extra virgin olive oil until crispy and golden brown, then finished in a spicy fra diavolo sauce! Perfect for brunch or dinner, just add a hunk of your favorite Italian crusty bread or pita. Think of this as eggs fra diavolo with an Egyptian twist! (And, I've included the option for classic eggs in purgatory as well below).
A fun twist on classic eggs in puragtory!
Uova in Purgatorio or eggs in purgatory is a southern Italian dish that's been around for a long time! Much like Middle Eastern shakshuka, Italian eggs in purgatory is basically soft poached eggs, simmered in a chunky tomato, onion, and garlic sauce until the whites are well done while the yolks remain somewhat runny and creamy. Except with eggs in purgatory, the tomato sauce is decidedly spicy and is flavored with Italian herbs.
I learned that traditional eggs in purgatory, like many Italian and Mediterranean recipes, came about as a way to use up leftovers, often using excess pasta sauce from last night's dinner to cook up the eggs. And what a delicious and cheap way to make a satisfying, protein-packed meal!
Fra diavolo sauce, being one of my favorite spicy Italian sauces, is a natural fit for this saucy egg dish. But instead of soft and runny eggs, I used fried boiled eggs! (You might recognize the fried boiled eggs from my viral Tiktok). Like I do in this Egyptian eggs recipe, I fried hardboiled eggs in a bit of extra virgin olive oil until the whites are crispy and golden brown, then I dunked them in the simmering spicy fra diavolo sauce! Add a hunk of Italian bread or even pita (like I do in the video below) to sop up the sauce!
Fra diavolo sauce for your eggs in purgatory
To make this saucy eggs recipe, you need 6 eggs and a devilishly spicy tomato sauce! You can tailor the spiciness to your liking. Here are the ingredients and notes for the sauce:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Onion: 1 medium onion, yellow or red, chopped
- Garlic: 5 fresh garlic cloves, minced (I don't recommend using already minced garlic or garlic powder, it won't give you the same flavor)
- Fresh hot chile pepper: 1 to 2 small hot peppers of your choice. I used jalapeño peppers, but you can use other chile peppers including habanero, which are very spicy.
- Kosher salt
- Diced Fire-Roasted Tomatoes: One 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes; I like fire roasted tomatoes here because they do add another layer of flavor. You can also use fresh diced tomatoes, if you prefer (you may need about 6 ripe roma tomatoes).
- Tomato paste: About ¼ cup of tomato paste here will add some depth and umami. Even if you end up using fresh tomatoes, the tomato paste is necessary.
- Dried oregano: 2 teaspoons or so
- Dried red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper: 1 to 2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes will take the spice level up a few more notches, so adjust to your liking (or omit). Aleppo pepper is not very spicy, but it will provide a subtle kick.
- Fresh Herbs: basil or parsley to finish
How to make this eggs in purgatory or eggs fra diavolo recipe
For my more visual friends, here is the step-by-step tutorial to make this recipe. If you don't need the photos, you can skip to the print-friendly recipe below.
- Prepare the eggs. In a 10-inch skillet, heat up a couple tablespoons of good extra virgin olive oil until shimmering. Add the hardboiled eggs and fry until the whites are crispy and golden brown (for your safety, it's a good idea to use a splatter guard). Remove the eggs and put them in a bowl or a plate for now.
- Make the spicy tomato sauce. In the same skillet, add the onions, garlic, and hot chile (or jalapenos). Cook over medium heat, tossing around for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the diced fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, and a little bit of water (about ¼ cup or so). Season with a big dash of salt, about 2 teaspoons of dried oregano, and dry red pepper flakes (the red pepper flakes are optional, and if the mixture is already spicy to your liking, you can leave them out). Bring this mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Dunk the eggs in the simmering sauce! Add the eggs to the sauce and allow them to warm through
- Serve your spicy eggs in purgatory with a hunk of good Italian bread or flatbread of your choice (I used pita).
Option for classic eggs in purgatory
If you would rather make this recipe the traditional way, you would not use boiled fried eggs. Instead, you can make the spicy tomato sauce and allow it to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, then crack 6 raw eggs and nestle them in the sauce. From there, let the eggs cook until the whites are set and the yolks are creamy and somewhat runny. (Check out my shakshuka recipe for some guidance).
Leftover and storage
You can store leftover eggs in tomato sauce in the fridge for up to 3 days. Allow the eggs and sauce to fully cool off, then transfer to a glass container with a secure lid before storing in the fridge. Warm up over medium heat, adding a little liquid, if the sauce is too dry.
More egg recipes to try:
Eggs Fra Diavolo (Eggs in Purgatory with a Twist)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 6 hardboiled eggs, peeled
For the Spicy Tomato Sauce
- 1 medium onion, yellow or red, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 hot pepper such as jalapeño, chopped
- Kosher salt
- 1 5 ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 to 2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper, more or less to your liking (if you like the sauce hot, you can add more)
- ½ cup basil or parsley, chopped
- In a 10-inch skillet or pan, heat about 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Carefully add the already boiled eggs and cook on all sides until the egg whites begin to crisp up and turn golden brown (use a splatter guard over your pan to keep the oil from splashing). Remove the eggs from the pan and set them on a plate or bowl for now.
- In the same pan, add the onions, garlic, and jalapeno. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, tossing regularly, until fragrant. Season with a big dash of kosher salt.
- Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and about ¼ cup of water. Season with another big dash of kosher salt. Add the oregano and red pepper flakes, if using. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and allow the tomatoes to simmer for about 10 minutes or so.
- Add the eggs to the simmering tomato sauce and cook for another 3 minutes or until the eggs are warm.
- Remove from the heat and finish with the parsley and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve with crusty bread or warmed flatbread.
- For classic eggs in purgatory: To make this recipe the classic way, skip the boiled eggs. First, make the spicy tomato sauce, then crack 6 raw eggs and nestle them in the sauce. Allow the sauce to simmer some more until the egg whites have set while the yolks remain creamy and somewhat runny. This is similar to how to make shakshuka.
- The sauce is a variation based on this fra diavolo recipe: In today's recipe, I omitted the white wine and added fresh chiles.
- Leftovers: store leftovers in a tightly closed glass container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can warm them up over medium heat, just add a little water if the sauce is too dry.
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