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Spicy Tequila Sauce

Move over, vodka! Tequila is coming to town to upgrade the traditional spicy red sauce we all know and love~
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Italian, Pasta, Sauce, Vegetarian
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 589kcal
Author: Allie Hagerty


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste, double-concentrated
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp tequila blanco (my favorite is vida tequila!)
  • 1/2 lb pasta


  • In your heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven, heat 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp unsalted butter, 1 tsp red pepper flakes. Cook until glistening. (Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil - you will need the pasta + pasta water starting in step 4!).
  • Next, add 3 tbsp double-concentrated tomato paste and 2 cloves garlic (grated). Whisk and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.The red from the tomato paste should start to turn almost burnt orange.
  • Once the garlic is fragrant, slowly whisk in 1 cup of heavy cream. Continue to whisk for about 3-4 more minutes until deep in an orange color.
  • Now for the fun part: add 3 tbsp (1.5 oz) of tequila blanco and continue to whisk for an additional 5 minutes, or until the alcohol is cooked out.
  • Make sure to reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta water before draining the cooked pasta. Add 1/8-1/4 cup pasta water to your sauce and whisk to combine. Continue to cook slowly (bring down to medium-low heat if necessary), so that the sauce can thicken up a little bit. This can take about 10 minutes. Make sure to whisk often so that the bottom does not burn. If the sauce gets too thick, you can always add a little bit more of the pasta water.
  • Once the sauce has reached your desired level of thickness, add the drained pasta and toss to coat. You can also add chopped fresh basil (my favorite) or some cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano). Serve immediately.


Calories: 589kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 533mg | Potassium: 407mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g
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