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Shrimp and Autumn Squash Salad

1 small butternut squash or other winter squash
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb. orzo
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 anchovy fillet, mince
Fresh Thyme, minced – optional
Red Pepper Flakes – optional
1 medium shallot, diced
1/2 lb. large shrimp (10/14 count), peeled and deveined
1 Persian cucumber, sliced
1/2 cup feta cheese, cubed, diced, or crumbled
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel squash and cut into ¾-inch dice. Add squash to a bowl, drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, along with some salt and papper and toss to coat. Tip out on sheet pan and roast for 18 – 20 minutes or until just tender. Remove from oven, transfer to another sheet pan and set aside to cool. Can be made a day ahead.

In a medium saucepan cook orzo according to package directions. When finished cooking, drain in a colander. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil and stir in to prevent sticking.

While the pasta is cooking in a large bowl whisk together lemon juice, mustard, anchovy, thyme, scallions, salt, and pepper. Slowly add 1/4 cup olive oil while continuing to whisk. Add the drained orzo and stir to combine. Set aside.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Add the shallot and shrimp to the hot pan so that it sizzles upon contact. Allow to cook for about 1 minute and then flip each shrimp and allow to cook an additional 1-2 minutes or until shrimp is pink and cooked through. Cut the shrimp into thirds and add the orzo including the shallots and any remaining oil.

Add the remaining orzo salad ingredients to the orzo and shrimp. Toss well. Allow to sit for 30 minutes before serving.