Shakshuka | Food | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper


A comforting dish of many origins

click to enlarge Shakshuka - CP PHOTO BY CELINE ROBERTS
CP photo by Celine Roberts

I’ll be the first to admit this is a pretty bastardized version of shakshuka. The dish is attributed to a lot of places and cultures, including Northern Africa, the Middle East and, most often, Israel, where it’s served as a breakfast food. Since it’s already integrated into so many food cultures, this Italian-leaning iteration doesn’t strike me as a reach; besides, I’ve never had a version I didn’t like. 

This recipe is the result of a beautiful, late-summer afternoon with a friend who is a baker. His sourdough needed an equally delicious companion, and how better to eat bread than by using it to scrape homemade sauce out of the bottom of a bowl? 


  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. fresh oregano, de-stemmed
  • 1 tbsp. fresh basil, ribboned
  • 28 oz. can plum tomatoes, chopped (or 3 large fresh tomatoes, chopped)
  • 6 eggs
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • good quality Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 loaf sourdough bread
  • Optional: 1 tsp. cayenne powder, added with the chili powder and smoked paprika


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Drop butter into cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for one to two minutes. Add smoked paprika and chili powder, and stir for one minute. Add wine, oregano and basil, and simmer until slightly reduced. Stir in tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce until the sauce has thickened and remove from heat. Crack eggs, without breaking the yolks, on top of the sauce and transfer skillet into oven. Bake until the eggs are set and the whites are opaque. While eggs are baking, drop butter into a hot pan on the stove and toast slices of sourdough in it until they are golden brown. Grate Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top of eggs and garnish with basil. Serves six.

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