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  • Red bell pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Basil leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Eggs
  • Whole-grain French or Italian bread
  • Parmesan cheese

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Italians call this uova in purgatorio because of the sauce’s bright red color.

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December 22, 2015  |  Issue #588

Eggs in Purgatorio

Eggs in Purgatorio

Holiday Brunch

This protein-rich dish is perfect for a homemade holiday brunch. Fresh eggs cook quickly in a fragrant red sauce with just the right amount of basil. A quick sauté of onions, garlic and tomatoes helps it bridge the breakfast – lunch gap. Whole grain bread adds cancer-protective fiber and keeps you full the whole afternoon.

Makes 4 Servings.

Per serving: 247 calories, 14 g total fat (3 g saturated fat),
21 g carbohydrate, 11 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 257 mg sodium.


  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 can (14 oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, torn up, extra leaves for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 (1/2-inch) slices whole-grain French or Italian bread, toasted or 4 slices whole-grain sandwich bread, toasted
  • 2 Tbsp. grated or shredded Parmesan cheese


Cut four 1/2-inch rings from widest part of pepper. Cut away white rib, evening out inside of rings. Set pepper rings aside.

In deep medium skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in garlic. Add tomatoes, basil and 4 grinds pepper. When sauce simmers, cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add pepper rings to pan. Break an egg into custard cup or small, shallow bowl. Using spoon, scoop sauce out of center of a pepper ring. Holding bowl low over pepper ring, slide egg into it.

Working quickly, repeat, adding eggs to remaining pepper rings. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until eggs are set, 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place two bread slices each in four wide, shallow bowls. With wide spatula, transfer pepper-ringed egg on top of bread in each bowl. Spoon one-fourth of sauce remaining in pan around each egg. Sprinkle one-fourth cheese over each egg. Garnish with basil leaves. Serve immediately.

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