Monday, October 11, 2010

Eggs in Purgatory

This recipe could be officially titled "Eggs in Purgatory: Or, How to Use Up Some Extra Pasta." Or "Eggs in Purgatory: Never Ask a Man to Complete a Woman's Shopping List."

Our bi-weekly huge shopping trip was coming up and I was feeling tired, so my husband kindly offered to go for me. We shop on Friday afternoons, which has got to be one of the worst days and times to go. The store is filled with elderly women bossing their haggard, defeated-looking husbands around the store looking for the best deal, and moms with many children running up and down the aisles. Did I mention the crazy lady at my store who likes to follow you, ninja-style, through the store and attack when you look away from your cart for even a second? She seems to have a paranoia about people being robbed in her store and has no qualms about confronting you about comparing nutrition labels rather than keeping an eagle eye on your belongings.

So anyway, I sent lucky Mr. Kim Chee to the store with a (I thought) very, very specific list. I made notes about sales, brands, and quantities, and assured him he could call if he had any questions. That week, the store was having a sale on dried pasta--5 boxes for $4. I made a note that I wanted spaghetti, penne, and elbow macaroni, and if egg noodles and fettuccini were part of the sale, to get them too.

Well. Mr. Kim Chee, who is not a sale shopper, thought that the sale meant 5 boxes of the same kind of pasta. So he came home with 5 boxes of spaghetti, 5 boxes of penne, 5 boxes of elbow macaroni, and single packages of egg noodles and fettuccini. Did I mention that we already had half-boxes of several of these varieties? Imagine my surprise while unloading box after box of spaghetti at home :P

So yes. I would say that we have a lot of pasta to use up. I should have known, after the time I asked him to pick up some rice and he brought home a 20 pound bag from Sam's Club.

Back to the recipe. This is a really nice weekday meal, as it takes 15 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to bake. And it uses only basic staples.

I'll admit it here. I cheat and used jarred sauce. I actually like the taste of jarred sauce, as long as you get a brand that doesn't have a zillion ingredients. Tomatoes, onions, herbs, and that's it.

You start by pouring the jarred sauce into a shallow casserole dish. The original Eggs in Purgatory recipe involves a spicy tomato sauce, so spice it up a little with some crushed red pepper. I also add more garlic. Hey, if the husband's got garlic breath too than we both win. Or at least nobody loses.

Use a spoon to make little wells in the tomato sauce. Your eggs will sit in the wells.

Next, crack an egg into a small dish. Carefully pour the egg into the well you made in the tomato sauce. Using fresh eggs here will help you a lot. A fresher egg will have a tighter white and keep your egg from running everywhere.

Keep cracking and pouring until all your eggs have a spot. Then give them a nice shower of salt and pepper.

I made six eggs, which was the perfect number for our little family, but if you have a bigger or smaller family, this recipe increases or decreases easily.

Now cover with tinfoil and pop them in a hot oven and your eggs will poach in your tomato sauce.

Serve over some sort of starch (polenta would have been nice but I don't have 20 extra pounds of polenta sitting around!) I spooned an egg and some sauce over some spaghetti and had a cheese-stuffed breadstick on the side. It was quick, easy, fairly healthy (pretend I didn't eat the breadstick!), and a great weeknight meal for any hungry family.

Recipe: Eggs in Purgatory
 1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

6 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste

Pour spaghetti sauce into a wide, shallow baking dish. Sprinkle cloves and pepper flakes over the top of the sauce.

Use a spoon to make six cavities in the sauce. Carefully pour an egg in each of the cavities. Salt and pepper the eggs. Cover with tinfoil.

Bake in a 350F oven for 25-30 minutes, until whites are set. Serve over pasta.


  1. Different concept that. Topping spaghetti with eggs in purgatory. I'd prefer my pasta with just a nice sauce and no egg in it. But, each to their own! ☺

  2. I know, seems funny, right? Like an Italian huevos rancheros!