Cafe Pasquale’s Red Chile Sauce


We all live in a world of herbs, spices, and seasoning. Sometimes during our travels, we find a dish that is just so awesome. A dish that tells a story about flavor, history, and traditions: Pasquale’s red chile sauce fits the bill. If you’re a fan of mellow heat and deep flavor, you need to cook Café Pasquale’s red chile sauce.

After visiting Santa Fe and exploring the town and surroundings, I would say I need to visit again.
I had never been to New Mexico – the mountains, high deserts, big sky, architecture, food, and people are just impressive.

Santa Fe Culinary Adventures:

Santa Fe is a blend of flavors from Spanish and Native American cultures that have evolved over the last centuries and it shows in the food.
New Mexican cuisine offers more than just burritos and tacos. You can try savory stews like chile stew, comforting plates like blue corn enchiladas, or traditional hand-held foods like tamales. The cuisine continues to be a vibrant and dynamic work in progress, with chefs drawing inspiration from tradition while incorporating contemporary techniques and global flavors, creating a truly unique flavorful cuisine.

Santa Fe Red Chile Sauce


Cafe Pasquale’s:

Cafe Pasquale’s in Santa Fe is where I had my first taste of the traditional Red Chile sauce.
The restaurant gets rave reviews for its delicious and unique dishes! I love the flavors and it seems that no matter what you order the food is amazing! This place is popular and it will be packed anytime you choose to go, you will have a wait, however despite the wait, the food is incredibly flavorful.

Thinking about it, there’s something deeply satisfying about eating authentically prepared food in its place of origin, like savoring Hungarian goulash in Budapest or Wiener schnitzel in Vienna.
It gives you that anticipation and confirmation that things are cooked the way they are supposed to and what the city or region is famous for.

Cafe Pasquale’s Red Chile sauce :

Their red chile sauce, a vibrant blend of Guajillo, Ancho, and Árbol chiles, boasts a deep, rich color and an intoxicatingly fragrant aroma. It’s surprisingly easy to make at home, yet the flavor is truly out-of-this-world.

There’s a difference between “hot” and “spicy”.  Hot just burns your tongue, while spicy add a delightful, warming presence that elevates the entire dish. This red chile sauce has the perfect kick – mild enough to let all the other ingredients shine, but with enough depth to keep you coming back for more.

Santa Fe’s local food scene truly blew me away. Every dish was an explosion of flavor, and of course, chiles were the star of the show.

Café Pasquale’s serves red chile braised beef cheeks with a fried egg and fresh tortillas for breakfast – amazing stuff!
For thirty-nine years, the restaurant has been serving emphatically flavored cuisine inspired by the culinary traditions of New Mexico, Old Mexico, the Mediterranean, and Asia.

Café Pasquale was my go-to place for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
To describe their food I would say emphatically flavored is the perfect choice of words. If there was one sauce I could eat for the rest of my life, it would be Cafe Pasquale’s red chile sauce.

New Mexico Chiles:

New Mexico chile is the defining ingredient of New Mexican food and chile is New Mexico’s largest agricultural crop. Chile is the most essential—even sacred—ingredient in New Mexico cuisine. I returned to Chicago with a bag of Chimayo peppers from Wagner’s farm, which has been owned and operated for four generations.
If you are purchasing chile peppers, choose peppers that are soft and pliable and have a mild fresh, fruity smell. Brittle chiles are stale, lack flavor, and may be bitter.

Chiles used in Pasquals’e Red Chile sauce:

Guajillo Chile:

Pasquale is using Guajillo chile in their recipe. It’s a great mild chile that is the second most used chile in the state. If you like your chilies on the slightly sweeter side, then the guajillo should make your shortlist. This chile is a pretty complex chili, full of tang and sweetness. Think of cranberries and mild smokiness. It’s easy to see why people love Guajillo Chile so much. This is one chili that’ll earn its place in your pantry.

 Ancho Chiles:

The ancho chile is a dried Pablano pepper. The Ancho is very mild and sweet and adds a lot of flavors and a deep rich color to the plate. If you are new to chiles, the Ancho is another good choice to add to your pantry.

Arbol Chiles:

The Arbol chile is a small and potent chile pepper, also known as the bird’s beak chile. So, if you like to kick it up a notch, add a few more Árbol Chile’s. The Arbol chile packs a bit of a punch and is around a 6 to 7 on a heat scale out of 1 to 10. I love the Arbol Chile, they have a smoky, slightly earthy flavor. However, be warned, the Arbol Chile is potent and will make you pay.

Cafe Pasquale’s Big Red Chile Sauce

The Taste

You will love the fact that Pasquale’s chile sauce has that perfect little kick to it.
Great for enchiladas, burritos, and bowls of chile and beans.
It goes well with breakfast dishes, like scrambled or fried eggs.

The Process

As simple as it gets; a sauce with a deep, vibrant, and mild flavor.

The Verdict

A Southwest classic that tells a story about flavor, history, and traditions.
Cook it and you will discover a great sauce that screams simplicity and flavor.

Cafe Pasquale's Big Red Chile Sauce

Chef Norbert
There is a difference between "hot" and "spicy" food. Hot will burn and spicy will have a mellow pleasant heat that adds tons of flavor. The red chile sauce has a perfect mild kick to it, so you can still enjoy all the flavors and ingredients of the dish.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Sauces
Cuisine American
Servings 40 ounces
Calories 3 kcal



Cook peppers

  • In a stockpot or Dutch oven place the stemmed and seeded chimayo, ancho, and arbol chiles. Add the water, red wine vinegar, oregano, garlic, salt, and white onion. Add water and bring the ingredients to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
    2 quarts water, 32 guajillo chiles, 16 ancho chiles, 8 chiles de arbol, 4 cloves garlic, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, 2 tsp Mexican oregano, 1 each white onion, medium

Purée all of the ingredients

  • Remove from heat and let completely cool. Drain off the liquid and reserve it. In a blender place batches of chile pepper mixture with a small amount of the reserved water.
    1 tbsp kosher salt
  • Purée so that a thick ketchup-like consistency is achieved. Usually, you need to strain the sauce, however, if using a Vitamix blender there is no need to do so. If you don't use a Vitamix blender, I recommend straining the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve. Season with the salt and enjoy!

Chef Notes

  1. Red chile sauce can be held in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and in the freezer for 2 months.



Serving: 1 ounce | Calories: 3kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 178mg | Potassium: 17mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g

Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate

Keyword Sauce
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Join the Conversation

  1. Charles Trowbridge says:

    Is it ok to use dried peppers?

    1. Norbert Author says:

      All the peppers in this recipe are dried.


  2. Gary Sadler says:

    I have to agree with every word on this page. My wife and I fell in love with the unique food in Santa Fe and we found Pasquale’s to serve some of the best food in Santa Fe. Their red sauce was definately our favorite. Thank you so much for posting the recipe!

    1. Norbert Author says:

      Thank you for the kind words, I need to visit Santa Fe and Pasquale’s again, missing the food, scenery, and culture.

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