In the colonial district of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the Casas del XVI hotel surrounds visitors with quiet opulence and refined service. If you’re lucky enough to arrive in time for lunch, you may be treated to chef Henry Horne’s rosemary-accented crema de auyama —Dominican cream of pumpkin soup—served in the shady solitude of the courtyard. Silky-smooth and studded with cubes of queso de freir, a firm white local cheese, it makes a rich first course or a simple, satisfying meal all on its own.
- ¼ cups olive oil
- 1 tbsp. chopped rosemary
- 6 stalks celery, cut into 2″ pieces
- 1 (7-8-lb.) pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2″ pieces
- 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 2″ pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 cups milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 6 oz. queso para freir or queso blanco, cut into ½” cubes
- White truffle oil, for serving (optional)
- Heat oven to 425°. Toss oil, rosemary, celery, pumpkin, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper and spread into an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until brown and tender, about 1 hour. Transfer vegetables to a 6-qt. saucepan; squeeze cloves from garlic heads and add to saucepan. Add milk and cream; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium and cook until mixture is thickened slightly, 10-12 minutes. Let cool slightly and transfer to a blender; purée until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pushing on solids to extract liquid. Divide soup between bowls and top with cubed cheese; drizzle with truffle oil, if you like.