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Why do some Italians put "Hard Boiled Eggs in Pasta Sauce" ?

Hi All !
The curiosity is killing me! While reminiscing with my Parents, we started a huge conversation about my Grandmother putting eggs in her Sunday Pasta Sauce. I have NEVER heard or seen anyone do this.
Historically, is there a reason why some Italians or Italian Americans put Hard Boiled Eggs in their Sauce? Is it Regional, Cultural or Economic? I searched the internet and could not find any answers. Most sites mentioned poaching eggs in sauce but, my Grandmother boiled eggs and then put them in the sauce as it was cooking.
Also, Someone mentioned having meatballs with raisins. I have the same questions for raisins, as well.
Thanks for Reading & Happy Chowing!
Maria :)

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  1. Regional, cultural or economic? My guess is YES. ;-)

    Lots of folks whose people hailed from around Naples who are now living in the US like Uova in Purgatorio or Eggs in Purgatory...but these are poached eggs. For folks on a farm who kept chickens, eggs were sometimes a more readily available protein source than meat.

    I'm guessing your Nonna was Sicilian...raisins in meatballs and hard boiled eggs in sauce (in lieu of, or along with, meatballs) are both Sicilian things.

    2 Replies
    1. re: pinehurst

      Hi Pine !

      I believe my Dad said they had pigeons, not sure about the chickens, I will have to ask him. Maybe it was her version of Uova in Purgatorio. Many people change recipes.

      I believe my Grandparents were from Naples and Sicily. I need to do my homework and make a genealogy tree!
      LOL

      Thanks Pinehurst ❣

      1. re: MariaRN

        A geneology tree based on food would be VERY interesting too.

    2. My husband's aunt was from Naples, and she always put hard boiled eggs in her eggplant parm. She also had hard boiled eggs in her antipasta platter. That is all I know on the subject, but it does stick in my mind as particular to her, and therefore to Naples.

      2 Replies
      1. re: coll

        Hi Coll !

        My Mom always put hard boiled eggs in the antipasta platter as well. I never heard of eggs in eggplant parmigiana, until I was researching this topic.
        I believe my Grandparents were from Naples and Sicily, need to check. So, it may be a regional recipe.

        Thanks!! ❤

        1. re: MariaRN

          My husband's family was from Sicily on all sides. The only Neopolitan was the aunt, by marriage. People don't always realize how different the cuisines of different areas can be, obviously.

      2. I've seen a hardboiled egg in braciole before but never just sauce.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Njchicaa

          Hi Njchicaa !

          I actually have never heard of eggs in braciole. I believe my mom just used garlic, basil, grated parm & romano and other seasonings. I remember her pounding the meat thin, rolling, tying and cooking in sauce.

          Thanks!! ヅ

          1. re: MariaRN

            To me, the only logical place for hard boiled eggs in Italian cooking is braciole.

        2. I've seen a whole beaten egg tempered w/ hot sauce then poured into the sauce. Looked great.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Chinon00

            Hi Chinon00 !

            I never heard of Uova in Purgatorio until I was researching eggs in sauce. Looks and sounds really good though!

            Thanks! ♥

            1. re: MariaRN

              Try it, it's one of the best quick dinners you ever will have. I call it "San Gennaro Sandwich" after the feast in NY, it is a true comfort food.

              But I never heard of it in a sauce meant for meatballs etc, so maybe that is what this is really all about. Not that this is hard boiled, it is more like poached.

          2. The original comment has been removed