Hope your holiday season is going well, and that you are enjoying it with your family and loved ones. My client company miraculously shut down for the holidays, giving me a full 1.5 weeks off of work – something I desperately need. For the past several months, I’ve been neglecting myself (and particularly my body), so this break will be for rejuvenation and relaxation. In that vein, I’ve been Instagramming more of my food pics, getting more opportunities to exercise more, and just trying to detox and shake off the cranky Anh that has become my natural state. I’ve had more time in the kitchen, as well as time catching up with friends, generally a good sign. Between making holiday cookies and shopping and being caught up in the holidaze, I needed a satisfying and quick meal, and shakshuka really hits the spot.
Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce
Shakshuka is a North African dish of baked eggs in a spicy tomato sauce. This recipe is a great way to use left-over pasta sauce and such a lovely brunch dish for a crowd. You can serve individual portions in ramekins, or present a baking dish for all to share. Either way, it’s a hit. In my version, I modified a left-over bolognese ragu, by adding some cayenne, paprika, along with a squeeze of lemon and shavings of lemon zest. Some recipes also call for cumin, bringing the dish closer to its North African roots, though I left it out in this version as I wanted something a bit lighter and bright to balance the heavy bolognese. Also, rather than using the typical feta cheese, I went with an Italian pecorino for its tanginess and easy-pairing with the Italian sauce. The best part about this dish is that it is easily scalable to feed crowds and takes well with a variety of ingredients. Other more authentic versions can be found at Bon Appetit and Smitten Kitchen.
loaf of bread, thinly sliced, buttered & rubbed with garlic, then toasted
2 c tomato sauce (or bolognese sauce in this case), warmed
1-2 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
2 tsp paprika (I used Hungarian paprika)
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbs lemon zest
grated pecorino cheese
5 leaves basil, thinly julienned
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400˚. On low to medium heat, add the cayenne, paprika and lemon juice to taste to the tomato or bolognese sauce. Remove from heat once spices have been evenly distributed. For individual portions, divide the tomato sauce evenly into 3 ramekins. For a large platter, spread the tomato sauce onto a square baking pan. Gently crack an egg into each ramekin or create little wells in the pasta sauce platter to place each cracked egg. The wells ensure that the eggs will not all slide to the sides of the pan. Top the eggs off with a dash of salt, a crack of pepper, a dusting of paprika, and a sprinkle of lemon zest/ grated pecorino, and fresh basil leaves.
Place the ramekins into a baking dish (if applicable), and place the baking dish into the hot oven. Bake until the egg whites are set but the yolks still runny, about 6-10 minutes (in consideration for the folks who don’t like runny yolks). Serve with toasted bread for dipping.
Thanks for stopping by during your busy holiday season. I have some great treats to post over the next 1.5 weeks, so stay tuned.