Italian eggs in purgatory is a Neapolitan recipe, and its name has a mystical/mythical origin. 

The tomato sauce represents the frightening flames of the purgatory, while the egg whites recall the white tunic fleeing souls.

Eggs in purgatory is a recipe from the Italian Spring SIMPOSIO

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Eggs in purgatory recipe from Italy
Italian eggs in purgatory: the authentic Neapolitan recipe

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Italian eggs in purgatory

Course eggs
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2
Author Claudia Rinaldi | Gourmet Project


  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 shallot
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons basil leaves chopped
  • 1 cup tomato puree passata
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese grated
  • salt and pepper


  1. Peel and crush the garlic clove. Peel and finely chop the onion.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet, medium heat, add garlic and scallion and sautè a few minutes, until gold.

  3. Add the passata, a pinch or two of salt, cover and cook 6-8 minutes.
  4. Finely chop the basil leaves. Add 1 tablespoon of basil to the tomato sauce and mix.

  5. Add the eggs, sprinkle them with a pinch of salt, cover and cook 3-5 minutes (check every once and then if the white is cooked).
  6. Remove from heat, sprinkle eggs with a few grinds of black pepper, the remaining basil, and parmesan cheese. Serve hot with crusty Italian bread.

Enjoy your eggs in purgatory.