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Eggs Baked with Tomato Sauce

Eggs Baked with Tomato Sauce excerpted from Cured by Steve McHugh & Paula Forbes.This dish calls for a bit of chopped marjoram, an herb that doesn’t get used as much as I think it should. It is from the mint family and has a taste and aroma of oregano but is slightly sweeter. Depending on how many people you’re feeding, you could add more eggs to this— generally, you want 1 to 2 eggs per person. The bread here is a must because the sauce is great for dipping.

Base Ingredient: Tomato Sauce

For home cooks and chefs alike, tomato sauce is one of the ultimate foods to put up. Summer in a jar! Homemade tomato sauce has a million culinary applications, and that’s before you start adding flavorings to it. Processing tomatoes at their peak is a bit of a pain—especially because it’s so hot when they start coming into the restaurant—but come January and February, boy am I glad for all those jars of red sauce. And if you’re not the tomato-processing kind? The grocery store shelf has an almost overwhelming number of options for canned tomatoes, so here’s how to find a good one: First, look at the list of ingredients. Is there anything in there other than tomatoes, tomato juice, and maybe basil? Avoid! Good old canned tomatoes are great on their own; there’s no need for sugars, herbs, or spices. More specifically, avoid anything that lists “calcium chloride” as an ingredient. This is an additive that prevents the tomato from breaking down, giving it a firm texture. But you want tomatoes to break down in tomato sauce!

Eggs Baked with Tomato Sauce excerpted from Cured by Steve McHugh & Paula Forbes.

Eggs Baked with Tomato Sauce

Steve McHugh & Paula Forbes
Basic Tomato Sauce
Tomatoes contain a bit of acid, but not all varieties are acidic enough to can on their own. Typically we use Roma tomatoes for tomato sauce, but any paste variety—or combination of paste varieties—will work. Romas are unfortunately not quite acidic enough to can on their own, though. So I add lemon juice to my tomato sauce, which also serves the purpose of brightening everything up a bit. You can find instructions for canning your tomato sauce on page 328. You can also freeze tomato sauce for up to 6 months.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes or 7 cups diced paste tomatoes (about 4 pounds), peels, cores, and seeds removed
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1) Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 more minute.
2) Add the tomatoes, juice and all, to the pot and increase the heat to medium-high. Swirl about 1 cup of water through the cans to rinse out the last bits of tomato and add that to the pot as well. Bring the sauce to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, and use a wooden spoon to stir and break up the tomatoes. Cook until thickened, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The tomatoes should be broken up but still slightly chunky.
3) Remove the pot from the heat and add the butter and lemon juice (the cold butter helps the sauce emulsify). Season with salt and pepper.
4) This sauce will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Italian
Servings 3 -4 servings


  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups tomato sauce (above)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram 
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 cups packed fresh spinach
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 baguette, cut crosswise into thirds, each third sliced lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 10 fresh chives, chopped, for garnish


  • Take the eggs out of the refrigerator and let them sit on the counter while you prepare the rest of the dish—you want them to be room temperature when you put them in the sauce later on.
  • Heat the oven to 400°F.
  • Combine the tomato sauce, wine, marjoram, and thyme in a pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the spinach to the pot and stir until cooked down completely, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Spread the ricotta on the bottom of a 12-inch cast-iron pan or a 2-quart casserole. Top the ricotta with the hot tomato sauce.
  • Using a spoon, create six small wells in the top of the tomato sauce and crack an egg into each well. Sprinkle each egg with some of the red pepper flakes and bake until the whites have set but the yolks are still a bit runny, 12 to 15 minutes.
  • While the eggs are baking, place the cut baguettes on a sheet pan and brush with the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes, or until nicely toasted.
  • Sprinkle the chives over the eggs and serve with the toasted bread.


Cured by Steve McHugh & Paula Forbes (© 2024). Photographs by Denny Culbert. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Recipe reprinted with permission from Cured by Steve McHugh & Paula Forbes (Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC., 2024). Photography by Denny Culbert.
Keyword Baguette, Butter, Cured, Eggs, Garlic, Lemon, Onion, Paula Forbes, plum tomatoes, Red pepper flakes, Ricotta, Spinach, Steve McHugh, Thyme, Tomatoes, white wine

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