Pasta in Garlic Crema Sauce with Butternut Squash and Cotija Crisps
WHAT YOU NEED
- 2 pounds butternut squash
- 1 1/2 cups Cacique® Crema Mexicana
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 2 sprigs thyme, plus 1 teaspoon chopped
- 3/4 cup grated Cacique® Cotija, pan fried
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 8 ounces pasta shells
- 1 1/2 cups baby arugula or spinach
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
HOW TO MAKE IT
- Peel the squash, remove the seeds and cut into 1-inch cubes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Combine the squash and onion on a large rimmed baking sheet. Toss with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 10 or 12 grinds of black pepper. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake 25 minutes. Remove the foil and stir the squash around with a spatula. Roast 15 minutes more, or until the squash is tender and lightly browned.
- While the squash is baking, spread the grated Cotija in medium sized pan and fry until it turns to a deep golden brown. Break into small pieces and set aside. You may also microwave Cotija on a sheet of parchment paper in 30 seconds intervals until crisp.
- Pour the cream into a saucepan. Drop in the garlic cloves and thyme sprigs and bring to a simmer - lower the heat and watch that it doesn't boil over. Simmer 20 minutes, until the cream is slightly reduced, and the garlic is soft.
- Remove from the heat and steep 10 minutes, then remove the garlic and thyme. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Transfer the sauce to a serving bowl with the butter and keep warm. Reserve ¼ cup for garnish.
- Bring a 6-quart pot of water to a boil with 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and add to the bowl with the sauce and stir until evenly coated with the sauce.
- Add the squash and baby greens to the bowl and gently stir. Serve with the crispy Cotija cheese, drizzle with the reserved crema mixture and chopped thyme sprinkled over the top.