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Eggs in Purgatory - Neapolitan Eggs in Tomato Sauce

This recipe has been reproduced with the kind permission of Arthur Schwartz and comes from his book Naples At Table: Cooking In Campania.

For more than 30 years, Arthur Schwartz, was a newspaper food editor, columnist and restaurant critic. For nearly 13 years, he was the host of the nationally syndicated "Food Talk," the first and still most commercially successful radio food program in the US. He is the author of six cookbooks, including the best-selling "Naples At Table: Cooking in Campania," considered a definitive work even by Neapolitans, and the award-winning "Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food: An opinionated history with legendary recipes."

He lectures extensively at museums, libraries, and for benefit and community audiences. He teaches cooking at many venues in metropolitan New York City, and, for the last five years, at his own cooking school, Cook at Seliano, in Paestum, based at Baronessa Cecilia's two neighboring farms, Tenuta Seliano and Masseria Eliseo - onderful cooking vacations in Campania!

Cook at Seliano takes place in Campani which is the region in which the famed Amalfi Coast is located. If the idea of taking a cooking vacation and cooking tour with Arthur appeals to you then to find out more click here.

Eggs simmered in a little tomato sauce. That's all this is, but I think it exemplifies the Neapolitan genius for making something out of nothing.


1 small onion, cut in half, then finely sliced or chopped
2 - 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Pinch hot red pepper flakes, or more to taste
2 cups tomato puree, canned crushed tomatoes, or chopped drained canned tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
4 - 6 eggs
Grated cheese


  • In a 9 or 10 inch skillet, combine the onion, the olive oil and the hot pepper and cook over medium heat until the onion is lightly golden, about 6 minutes.
  • Add the tomato puree, dried marjoram, and a big pinch of salt to start. Simmer for 5 or 6 minutes, until the sauce has concentrated a little. You can set the pan aside now (at room temperature or in the refrigerator) if you are not cooking the eggs until later.
  • Before cooking the eggs, bring the sauce back to a simmer, taste and add more salt if necessary, then break the eggs into the bubbling sauce. Cover and cook until the eggs are done to taste, meaning with fully set whites and runny yolks, or until the yolks are set further or completely.
  • Serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, pecorino, or ricotta salata.

Serves: 2 or 3

Arthur Schwartz

Reprinted with permission from Arthur Schwartz