As hearty as main courses of meat may be, vegetables can match them as the satisfying focus of a meal when combined with pasta, stuffed with other vegetables, or added to fillings for savory pies.

During the warm weather before the gardens or farm stands offer up loads of corn, tomatoes, and other summer produce, you can still eat very well, if not splendidly, from the range of vegetables available at the supermarket.

Even those dependent on beef, pork or chicken for their protein fix can be well satisfied by, say, an herb-scented pasta brightened with strips of peppers each of a different color, or a pie made up of a savory cheese mixture into which you've swirled saute'ed shredded zucchini.

Some of the best dishes of this type combine vegetables and durum wheat pasta shapes.

In the Linguine with Peppers and Parmesan Cheese, strands of linguine are tossed with strips of skinned, charcoal-grilled (or broiled) red, green, and yellow peppers bathed in a garlic and basil oil. The success of this recipe depends upon the careful grilling or broiler-roasting of the peppers.

The Penne with Steamed Vegetables in Garlic Sauce is a collection of steamed vegetables, cooled and combined with boiled pasta, forming a main course salad with a number of textures and hues. Binding all of the components together is a mellowed variation of a garlic-oil-and-vinegar dressing with a nutty, slightly sweet garlic flavor.

The Shredded Zucchini and Jarlsberg Cheese Pie is a substantial main course -- rich and satisfying, the custard mixture is a contrast of cheese and shredded zucchini. Other shredded, lightly cooked vegetables -- such as cooked chopped broccoli florets or saute'ed diced eggplant -- could replace the zucchini.

The Artichokes Stuffed with Vegetables and Cheese recipe is a good one to have on hand, if you like to savor all parts of the whole artichoke -- the tender leaf tips as well as the heart. The stuffing, simply a few saute'ed vegetables moistened with olive oil, sharpened with olives and zesty parmesan cheese, and bound with bread crumbs, brings out the flavor of the vegetable and gives you something else to eat besides. This stuffing would also do well piled inside of whole, ripe hollowed-out tomatoes, or zucchini boats.

The Gratin of Eggplant and Tomatoes with Two Cheeses is a pan-saute'ed mixture of eggplant (I have used the slender pale purple Japanese eggplant with excellent results), onions and celery cooked in a light sauce tinged with tomatoes. This "sauce" is really made in the same skillet in which the vegetables are saute'ed, and is a simmering of tinned plum tomatoes and seasonings. Once cooked, the eggplant mixture is transferred to an oval baking dish, topped with mozzarella and parmesan cheese and baked until bubbly hot.

The following, enjoyed on their own or as part of a meal, should encourage anyone to eat their vegetables: SHREDDED ZUCCHINI AND JARLSBERG CHEESE PIE (6 servings)

This deep cheese pie is flecked with thin strands of zucchini that have been saute'ed with fresh basil. It is best served warm or tepid, or at room temperature, when it becomes a fine summer dish to serve along with other vegetable dishes that are marinated or grilled. It makes a wonderful main course to carry along to a picnic (keep the pie in the metal tart form for traveling) or to serve as a light supper in or out-of-doors with a crisp green salad.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (stir to aerate before measuring)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes, cold

1 jumbo egg yolk, cold

2 tablespoons ice cold water (or more as needed)


2 small zucchini, well scrubbed, trimmed, and shredded on the coarse holes of a hand grater, salted lightly

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup finely shredded fresh basil leaves

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves


3 jumbo eggs, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup light cream, at room temperature

1 cup whipping cream, at room temperature

1/2 pound jarlsberg cheese, rind removed, grated on the large holes of a hand grater

Make the pastry dough: Place the flour, salt, and basil in a large mixing bowl; mix well with a fork. Scatter over the butter, and using 2 round-bladed knives, cut the butter into the flour until the butter has been reduced to small pea-sized bits. With your fingertips, further blend the butter into the flour by gently scooping down into the mixture and rubbing the butter and flour between your fingertips. The mixture should look like medium-coarse cornmeal.

Combine the egg yolk and 2 tablespoons cold water. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the egg yolk mixture all at once; stir to make a firm but pliable dough. Add only enough additional cold water by half teaspoons, if necessary, if the dough does not seem to adhere together into a soft (but not sticky) rough mass. Turn out the dough onto a cool work surface, press it into a round, flat cake (not a ball), transfer to a square of waxed paper, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling out. (The dough cake, slipped into a plastic bag and secured with a tie, may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before using.)

Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface into a large 1/4-inch thick round, using a lightly floured rolling pin, and quick, light strokes. Refrigerate the circle for 5 to 10 minutes if your kitchen is very warm. Place the dough in a 8-inch round, 2-inch deep tart form with a removeable bottom. (The pan must be at least 2 inches deep to hold all of the filling.)

Press down the dough on the bottom of the pan, then press it up and against the sides. Using the overhang of the dough, press about 1/4 inch of it inside the rim of the pan; roll the rolling pin over top of the pan to cut off the excess dough. Press up the edges of the dough all around, using the tips of your fingers to make the sides slightly higher than the top of the tart pan. Prick the bottom of the pastry with the tines of a fork. Refrigerator the shell, covered, for at least 1 hour before baking.

While the dough is chilling, cook the zucchini: Dump the lightly salted zucchini in a strainer or small colander; let stand for 15 minutes. Transfer the zucchini onto paper toweling and pat dry. Melt the butter in a skillet, add the zucchini, and saute' over moderately high heat for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the vegetable is tender-crisp. Remove the zucchini to a side dish; stir in the basil and parsley. Set aside.

Make the egg and cheese mixture: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, pepper, and salt. Pour in the light cream and whisk it in; pour in the whipping cream and whisk it in. Blend in the cheese. Set aside.

To partially bake the tart shell: Line the chilled shell with aluminum foil. Pour raw rice (or dried beans) right up to the top of the shell; set on a preheated cookie sheet in a 425-degree oven. Bake for 10 minutes; remove foil and rice (or dried beans) carefully, reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue baking until the shell is a light brown color, about 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Combine the zucchini mixture with the egg and cheese mixture. Pour and scrape the cheese mixture into the partially baked shell. Raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees; bake the pie on the lower third level rack for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 325 degrees and continue baking for 35 to 40 minutes or until the pie has set. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

To serve, remove the sides of the tart pan and serve the pie, cut into triangles, warm, tepid, or cool. GRATIN OF EGGPLANT AND TOMATOES WITH TWO CHEESES (6 servings)

This is a me'lange of eggplant, tomatoes, and herbs that sits under a soft mantle of melted mozzarella and parmesan cheese. The vegetable mixture may be made up to 5 days in advance and stashed in the refrigerator to be assembled for baking at a moment's notice. Japanese eggplant, which has none of the bitterness often found in the fatter, more voluptuous eggplant, is terrific with this dish. Often thinner than most cucumbers, and several inches longer, Japanese eggplant need not be salted and drained before cooking to extract any bitter juices. The Japanese variety is a real find, when available, and, because of its sweet, creamy quality, is worth the higher price.

2 pounds eggplant, preferably Japanese eggplant

Salt as necessary

1/2 cup olive oil

10 ribs celery, diced

2 onions, diced

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups tinned plum tomatoes, cut up with their juice

2 teaspoons tiny non-pareil capers, rinsed in cool water, drained, and finely chopped

1 dozen oil-cured black olives, pitted and chopped

Freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano leaves, or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves


1/3 pound mozzarella, shredded on the large holes of a hand grater

1/4 cup grated imported parmesan cheese

Ifyou are using the fat, dark purple eggplant, peel it, cut into cubes, sprinkle with salt and let drain in a colander for 30 minutes. Pat dry the Japanese eggplant, trim off the top and bottoms, halve lengthwise, and cut into large cubes.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over moderately high heat and fry the eggplant cubes in the oil in 2 batches, until they are golden colored. Remove the eggplant to a side bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the celery to the oil remaining in the pan; stir-cook over moderate heat for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the eggplant is a light golden color. (If the eggplant has absorbed all of the olive oil during frying, add 4 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet.) Remove the celery to the side dish holding the eggplant.

Add the onions to the skillet; stir-cook over moderate heat for 5 minutes or until just tender. Transfer the onions to the eggplant and celery with a slotted spoon. Pour the red wine vinegar into the skillet, reduce the heat to low and cook until the vinegar has been reduced by half, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste, plum tomatoes, and capers. Bring the tomato mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the olives. Season with freshly ground pepper and salt to taste. Transfer the eggplant-onion-celery mixture back to the tomato mixture and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the flavors have melded and the eggplant is just tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil, parsley, and oregano.

To bake the gratin: Spoon the eggplant mixture into a lightly oiled 10-inch oval gratin dish or other oval casserole that is about 2 to 3 inches deep (the dish must be ovenproof). Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella over the vegetables, then scatter over the grated parmesan.

Bake the gratin on the upper third level rack of a 400-degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are piping hot and the topping is melted and lightly browned. ARTICHOKES STUFFED WITH CHEESE AND VEGETABLES (6 servings)

Artichokes make a satisfying first course when stuffed with vegetables and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Serve the artichokes warm or tepid with a vinaigrette dressed up with a little diced tomato for dipping the leaves into.

6 artichokes

2 lemons, halved

1/3 cup olive oil plus extra for sprinkling

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 onions, chopped

1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced

1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced

1/2 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs

3/4 cup freshly grated imported parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

About 1 1/2 cups cold water

With a sharp serrated knife, cut the stems off of the artichokes leaving a flat base. Using scissors, cut off the sharp pointed tip of all the leaves on each artichoke; lay the artichoke on its side and evenly cut off 1 to 1 1/2 inches of the top. Rub all the cut sides of the artichokes with the lemon halves. Pry open the artichoke to expose the fuzzy choke covering the heart; remove the fuzzy choke with a melon scoop. Squeeze a little lemon juice in the insides of the artichokes.

Make the filling: Place the olive oil in a small saucepan and set over low heat. Add the garlic and onions and stir-cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onions have wilted. Add the green pepper and stir-cook 2 to 3 minutes longer, just until the pepper has lost its firmness. Remove from the heat; cool slightly. Combine the onion and pepper mixture in a bowl with the parsley, tomatoes, and olives. Fold through the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper, remembering that the cheese contributes its own salty quality.

Divide the mixture between the 6 artichokes, lightly stuffing each hollowed out cavity with a sixth of the filling. Place the artichokes, flat-side-down, in a casserole large enough to accommodate them in one layer. Sprinkle a little olive oil over the top of the artichokes. Pour the cold water into the casserole along the side (not over the artichokes); add any additional cold water so that there is at least 1/3 inch of water on the bottom of the casserole.

Cover the pot and bring the liquid to a boil, then simmer for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until the artichokes are tender when pierced with a long skewer. When the artichokes are cooked, remove them from the casserole using 2 large spoons and serve them warm or tepid. PENNE WITH STEAMED VEGETABLES IN GARLIC SAUCE (6 servings)

The garlic dressing that glosses over this salad of pasta and vegetables is made by slowly cooking whole cloves of garlic in olive oil until they are soft, yielding and buttery. The garlic is pure'ed in the oil to form the basis for a lovely vinaigrette dressing.

8 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole

1/3 cup olive oil

4 tablespoons white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves

1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano leaves (optional)

1 1/2 cups broccoli florets, steamed until crisp-tender

1 1/2 cups miniature yellow squash, steamed until crisp-tender, or, 2 small yellow squash, trimmed, cubed and steamed until crisp-tender

1 1/2 cups carrots, peeled, cut into 1/3-inch thick diagonal slices, steamed until tender-crisp

1 1/2 cups fresh green peas, steamed until tender-crisp

1 pound penne, (quill-shaped macaroni), preferably imported


1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, preferably imported

Make the dressing: Place the garlic and olive oil in a small saucepan, cover and cook over low heat for about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes, or until the garlic has softened completely. Set aside to cool, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Pure'e the garlic with the oil in the container of a food processor fitted with the steel knife or in a blender. Pour and scrape the garlic-oil mixture into a mixing bowl. Whisk in the white wine vinegar and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Swirl in the parsley, basil, and oregano (if you are using it). Set aside to allow the herbs to release their flavor in the dressing for 10 minutes.

Combine the steamed broccoli, squash, carrots, and peas in a large bowl. Whisk the dressing again and pour it over the vegetables. Carefully fold the vegetables through the dressing; set aside.

Boil the penne in a large pot of salted water until cooked but still firm to the bite. Drain well in a colander. Toss the pasta with the vegetables and dressing; sprinkle over the cheese and toss again. Serve the pasta and vegetables from a large platter, decorated with fresh basil sprigs, if you like. Pass a pepper mill for those who would like to add extra freshly cracked pepper to their portion of pasta. LINGUINE WITH PEPPERS AND PARMESAN CHEESE (6 servings)

Roasted red, green, and yellow bell peppers are a good contrast to plain pasta, which becomes uplifted by the smoky taste of the vegetable. Any combination of peppers would make this dish delectable, but the yellow and green variety being sweeter, and so adding another level of taste, should be included whenever possible.

2 firm, meaty red bell peppers

2 firm, meaty yellow bell peppers

1 green bell pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

1 pound durum wheat linguine, preferably imported


1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, preferable imported

Prepare the peppers: Grill the whole peppers on a rack over the hot coals of a barbeque until they are blackened all over, turning them from time to time. Alternately, halve the peppers, place the halves cut-side down on a baking sheet and broil them until the skins blacken. Transfer the grilled or broiled peppers to a paper bag. Crumple the bag closed and let sit for 30 minutes to allow the moisture given off by the heat of the peppers to loosen the skin from the flesh. The peppers should be grilled (or broiled) to the point where they lose their firmness and are blackened, but not grilled too long so as to turn flabby.

Remove the peppers from the bag, peel away the skin, flick away the seeds, core, and cut or tear the flesh into strips; set aside.

Place the garlic cloves and olive oil in a saucepan that can later accommodate all of the pepper strips. Cook over low heat until the garlic begins to release its aroma, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the basil. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk in the vinegar. Stir in the parsley. Set aside.

Boil the linguine in salted water until cooked but still firm to the bite; drain well. While the pasta is boiling, warm the peppers in the herbed and garlic-flavored dressing. Toss the peppers and dressing with the hot linguine; add the cheese and toss again. Serve the pasta from a large heated platter, decorated with a ring of fresh basil sprigs, if you like.