eggs in tomato sauce

Back in Dave’s bachelor days, “pasta and red” was one of his standard dinners. He’d cook and drain pasta, put the pasta back in the pot, dump jarred tomato sauce over it, and stir it all up until it was warmish. Pasta and red.

These days, I’m always insisting that ‘pasta and red’ is not a phrase that should be associated with actual home-cooked tomato sauce. Whether I’m quickly sautéing some garlic to make a simple sauce with canned diced tomatoes, mixing up vodka sauce, or simmering a slow-cooked bolognese, Dave wants to call them all pasta and red. No! A 5-hour bolognese should not be compared to oversweetened overcooked jarred sauce.

I like all types of tomato sauces, even jarred ‘red’, but when I smelled this simmering pan of tomatoes and garlic and realized that I was basically making spaghetti sauce to serve with eggs for breakfast, I started to worry – yes, I like tomato sauce with pasta, but would it translate to eggs and breakfast?

Yup. The rich egg balances the acidic tomato sauce, and the thick slice of whole wheat challah on the bottom soaked up every bit of flavor. Eggs and red – it works.

One year ago: Tofu Mu Shu
Two years ago: Crockpot Pulled Pork

Printer Friendly Recipe
Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

If you just want to coarsely chop your tomatoes, stick a pair of scissors into the opened can of tomatoes and snip away.

Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons red or white wine (optional)
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped or pureed
pinch sugar
½ teaspoon salt
ground black pepper
4 large eggs
4 slices toasted country bread
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a medium skillet, heat the oil, garlic, and pepper flakes over medium heat until the garlic and pepper is sizzling. Add the wine and let it simmer until it becomes syrupy, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, 12 to 15 minutes.

2. Break the eggs into individual small cups. Make wells or indentations in the sauce, and gently transfer the eggs from the cups to the wells; season the eggs with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the whites are set.

3. Spoon a portion of sauce with an egg over toasted bread. Top with a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese and serve immediately.


  1. treewhisperer says:

    you can overcook pasta sauce?! 🙂

  2. Yum. We opened a can of pasta sauce tonight and I was just thinking about breakfast tomorrow. Thank you so much 😀


  3. Mmm this looks so delicious! I just posted Baked Eggs in Salsa, so I’m with you on tomato and eggs! I will have to try this!

  4. Martha Stewart has a similar recipe that (I think) includes baking the eggs in the sauce. I haven’t mustered up the courage to try it because eggs and marinara sounds funny to me, but both your pictures and hers look delicious! I’m thinking I might have to get over my fears and try this soon 🙂 I like that your version cooks all in one pan – perfect weeknight meal.

  5. I’ve seen a couple of recipes like this and really want to try this sort of dish. It looks fantastic.

  6. I love baked eggs! My favorite thing to order for brunch. I must make this soon!

  7. retropink says:

    Sauce & eggs? For sure! My grandfather always asked for cooked eggs in my grandmother’s ‘tomato gravy.’ She would crack the egg right into the hot, hot sauce right before serving. When the egg was cooked, the sauce was ready.

  8. This is many levels of awesome, especially something this simple. Actually, come to think of it, this is a standard dinner for me as well. And Dave’s pasta and red? Totally the fiance’s eating habit as well – that or pizza hut stuffed crust pizza. *shudder*

  9. Laura says:

    I’ll bet you didn’t know that what you created is an Israeli dish called shakshuka – I ate it very frequently when I lived there studying abroad. The variation from your recipe is that shakshuka is served in a pita for an on-the-go meal, or the tomatoes/sauce and eggs are served in a shallow bowl with several pita on the side for dipping. Very tasty.

  10. I’ve always wanted to try this…it looks so good. I just need to do it!

  11. As a savory breakfast person, this sounds fantastic! Adding some bacon and breakfast potatoes would make it pretty much perfect for me 🙂

  12. Ooo, I think I could get my husband to do anything for me if I made him this. Yum yum!

  13. When the weather is colder, I’ll have those eggs in tomato sauce for brunch.

  14. yum. how I’ve missed my eggs! I didn’t eat too many in Greece.

  15. Carolyn says:

    My Grandmother would take hard boiled eggs and put them in with the sauce while it was cooking. Also, they made a type of omelet with bread crumbs and whipped it up good, pan seered it and let it cook in the sauce. That was really good.