Orzo with Yellow Squash, Leeks, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

When Patrick and I were coming home from Disney World, one of our pit-stop meals was at Cracker Barrel--Patrick's first visit! Being the good Southerner that I am, I couldn't let Patrick go any longer without eating here! Of course we played the triangle tee game simply known as the Peg Game, ate some dumplings, and shopped in the Old Country Store. Unfortunately we ran out of time to relax in the rocking chairs and play checkers... next time.

In the Old Country Store I found an interesting little cookbook with lots of yummy fall recipes and pictures. I decided it would be a fun memento of our trip but I also couldn't pass up some of those recipes in A Harvest of Pumpkins of Squash: Seasonal Recipes. And here's one of the ones that made my mouth water!

This made a great lunch!

Orzo with Yellow Squash, Leeks, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
8 oz (1 1/2 cups) orzo pasta
3 tbsp olive oil
1 leek, white part only, chopped  I used the light green parts as well
   *more leek notes below
2 yellow summer squash, cut into 1/2-in dice
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 shallot or green onion, finely chopped  I used shallot
1 1/2 tbsp minced fresh dill or 1 tsp dried dill  I omitted the dill, not our favorite flavor
2 tsp minced fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and snipped into small pieces
1/2 cup (2 oz) crumbled feta cheese  I substituted goat cheese since Patrick loves it
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley  Omitted this too
Arugula leaves for serving  Didn't have any of these so omitted

   Bring a large saucepan three-fourths full of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook until al dente according to package directions. Drain, letting some of the cooking water cling to the pasta. Let cool for a few minutes.
   Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp of the oil. Add the leek and squash and saute until soft, about 3 minutes.
   In a bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tbsp oil, the lemon juice, shallot, dill, oregano, and salt and pepper. Add the pasta and toss to coat. Stir in the squash mixture, tomatoes, feta, and parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature, or refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 3 hours, if you like. When ready to serve, tuck the arugula around the edge of the serving bowl or individual plates.

*Leeks can be a little tricky because they're super dirty! For more details, visit this "How to Clean Leeks" website from About.com. This is what I do.

Chop off the large green portion of the leek down to where the leek turns light green. Then I slice the leek down the center, starting at the white root all the way to the end of the light green section. After that I chop the leek every 1/2-inch or so for a good saute size. Once that's done I toss the root end.

Then place all the chopped leeks, white and light green portions, into a medium sized-bowl and fill with water. The dirt will now sink to the bottom. I usually rinse the leeks twice. Then I scoop out the leeks with a slotted spoon into a strainer. If you pour the leeks into the strainer, you may not leave all the dirt behind. Leeks do require a little more preparation effort but they're worth it.

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