Our Sunday morning breakfast routine had fallen into a serious rut. Eggs (scrambled or poached), bacon, toast. Every week. Sometimes we’d tuck our scrambled eggs into warm corn tortillas with Cholula and cheddar or swap out sausage for the bacon, but it was almost always a variation on the theme. Then it came to me. Remembering long ago making Melissa Clark’s scrumptious Shakshuka with Feta from The New York Times and loving it, I poked around our kitchen to see if the essential ingredients were on hand. I was missing bell peppers and feta, but my garden was flush with basil and the fridge held a good hunk of Parmesan and some goat cheese, so I decided to put an Italian spin on this North African classic.
Crusty Italian bread is an absolute must for dipping into this tangy tomato sauce dotted with warm and creamy goat cheese (and runny yolks, if you like it that way). Give it a try it this weekend while late summer basil still abounds – with minimal effort, you’ll have a hearty breakfast or a light, satisfying dinner.
Italian Baked Eggs with Goat Cheese and Basil
serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons good olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 medium yellow onion, small diced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh basil, sliced into thin ribbons and divided
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
6 large eggs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
loaf of warm crusty bread or 6 thick slices of toast
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add onion, oregano, and red pepper flakes to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent, about five minutes. Stir in garlic and cook one minute more.
Add tomatoes, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and half of the basil to the pan. Stir and simmer over medium-low until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Test for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Scatter goat cheese evenly over sauce, but do not stir it in. Make 6 wells in sauce with the back of a large spoon, then crack one egg into each well. Sprinkle eggs with salt and pepper.
Place in oven and bake until egg whites are set but yolks are still soft (or longer if you prefer firmer yolks), 7-10 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil, then spoon into warm bowls, being careful not to break yolks. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and remaining basil, and serve with warm bread.