One of the meals we had when we were staying at Il Bellini was a simple dish that Rosanna prepared in about 45 minutes. When we complimented her on the meal she was surprised we were so impressed because apparently it is quite common here. For us it was an ingenious concept –a quick tomato sauce with eggs poached right in the sauce.
We tried it out when we got home, and while it did not turn out exactly the same as what Rosanna had prepared, we were sufficiently pleased with the result. We therefore thought it would be worth sharing the recipe with you. Keep in mind this is our version based on what we remember of Rosanna’s dish and what we had on hand at the time. Feel free to experiment yourself.
Uovi con Pomodori e Peperoni (Eggs with Tomatoes and Peppers)
8 ripe large tomatoes, chopped into bite-sized cubes
4 (or 6 or 8) eggs
3-4 large yellow bell peppers, chopped into bite-sized cubes
1 large onion, chopped into bite-sized cubes
3 cloves garlic, minced
Copious amounts of olive oil!
2 tsp. marjoram
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
Bread, pasta and Parmesan are optional
Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Use enough olive oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan. Cook until the onion becomes soft and translucent (about 5 minutes – do not allow the onion to brown). At this point add the tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper, and cook slowly for about 10 minutes. Stir periodically to keep the tomatoes from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Add the peppers and continue cooking over a moderate heat until the tomatoes have completely lost their shape and the peppers are soft (about 20 minutes). The sauce will become more flavorful the longer it cooks, so it’s best not to rush this part. Cover the pan to keep too much liquid from evaporating during this phase of the cooking. If the sauce becomes too dry, add a bit of water.
When the peppers are sufficiently soft, adjust seasoning as necessary. Carefully crack each egg into the sauce and allow the eggs to poach on the surface of the sauce. Once the eggs are thoroughly cooked, remove the pan from the heat and serve an egg with a generous spoonful of the sauce into individual bowls. Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper on top of each egg, and drizzle with olive oil.
This sauce is substantial enough to serve as a light meal on its own, or it can be used as a topping for pasta or bread. Add freshly grated Parmesan if you like.