This post is sponsored by Bertolli
Your summer Tuscan table is closer than you think!
Being an Italian girl, I live to feed people! I grew up in a family that was always surrounded by food. We always joke that at each meal we talk about what we are going to have at the next meal. In the Italian world, cooking for someone is showing how much you love them. One of my favorite ways to enjoy food and entertain is outside, or al fresco, on a beautiful day. With warm summer days approaching I wanted to share one of my favorite breakfast recipes that can be enjoyed al fresco. Sitting outside on a quiet morning with a hearty breakfast is one of life’s simple pleasures.
Eggs Poached in Tomato & Basil Sauce is one of my favorite breakfast recipes. It looks impressive, but is actually very simple to make. One of my favorite things about Italian food is sometimes the most simple recipes are the most flavorful. Bertolli® Tomato & Basil Sauce creates a perfect base for this recipe. The sauce is bright and acidic from the tomatoes and herbaceous from the basil. Taking a cue from my Italian Grandpa, who used to make the best homemade sausage, I’ve added spicy sausage to this recipe for a nostalgic touch. “Poaching” the eggs in the sauce isn’t what you normally think of when you poach an egg. There is no boiled water and vinegar here! This recipe is simply cooking the eggs in the sauce, topping it with fresh parmesan cheese, and placing it under the broiler to melt slightly. Cooking the eggs in the sauce this way keeps them tender and perfectly cooked. The combination of the spicy sausage, bright tomato sauce, rich eggs, and creamy cheese is perfection! The only thing that can make this better is a sprinkle of fresh Italian flat leaf parsley. Serve these eggs with freshly baked Italian bread for dipping, a glass of fresh orange juice, and a little cup of hot espresso. Once you enjoy breakfast al fresco you won’t want to have it any other way.
There are four different ways I recommend to make these eggs. First, and my favorite way to make this dish, is to use these cute little cast iron skillets. Cast iron skillets are great because they heat food evenly when cooking. You can cook each individual one on the stove, then place it in the oven to broil. It also keeps the dish very warm when serving. A large cast iron skillet can also be used. It is the same process except you place all the ingredients in one skillet, making sure the eggs have plenty of space away from each other. The third way this recipe can be made is in shallow ramekins by placing all of the ingredients into the dish and broiling it as your only cooking method. Lastly, they can be made in any large oven safe skillet by using the same cooking method, but be sure to add some olive oil to the pan before cooking.
To enjoy a breakfast al fresco I created a rustic Summer Tuscan tablescape filled with burlap, fresh flowers, and Tuscan inspired dishes. The wood chargers are great for the hot cast iron skillets, and they also add a fun outdoor touch. When I think of an Italian breakfast I think of hot espresso and freshly squeezed orange juice. These little touches add a summery Tuscan feel to your al fresco breakfast experience.
Breakfast Al Fresco With Bertolli; Eggs Poached in Tomato & Basil Sauce
- 1 jar Bertolli Tomato & Basil Sauce
- 4 eggs; one egg per serving
- 1 spicy sausage
- parmesan cheese for topping
- Italian bread for dipping
- about ½ cup flat leaf Italian parsley; chopped
- *Heat a large skillet over medium heat with about a tablespoon of olive oil
- *Remove the sausage from its casing by cutting down the center to break off the casing and the meat inside will come out
- *Place the sausage in the skillet and break it up with a wooden spoon or spatula to make small pieces; stir frequently until cooked through
- *Set aside
- If you are using a small cast iron skillet:
- *Place about ¼ cup of the sausage in the skillet with a ½ cup of the Tomato & Basil sauce
- *Place over medium heat
- *Create a well in the center and crack the egg into the well
- *Cover the white parts of the egg with more Tomato & Basil Sauce and cook on medium/low heat for a few minutes or until it starts to set up
- *Sprinkle over as much parmesan cheese as you like; about 1-2 tablespoons is usually good
- *Place the small cast iron skillet under the broiler for about 1 minute (keep your eye on it) so that the cheese melts and it will cook the top part of the egg slightly
- *Cooking times will depend on how well done you like your eggs; this timing will create an egg that still has a runny center
- *Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the chopped parsley
- *Repeat with the other 3 eggs and cast iron skillets
- *Serve immediately with fresh bread!
- ***You can make this the exact same way in a large cast iron skillet by placing all of the ingredients and eggs in to cook at the same time; make sure to have a good amount of space between each egg***
- ***If you want to serve these in single serve ramekins you can simply place the sausage and sauce into the ramekin; make a well for the egg; place the egg into the well; cook under the broiler for about 3-4 minutes; remove and top with cheese; then place under the broiler again for another minute to melt the cheese; top with parsley and serve***