Thanks to the summer garden's glorious array of produce, a dish of pasta with a bright-tasting vegetable sauce becomes the ideal to savor during the warm weather.

Summer pasta creations are special not only for their fresh taste but also for the ease with which they can be made. In winter, we relish sauces made from ingredients treated, oftentimes, to a long, lazy simmer. This time of year, however, we're more attracted by the many sauces that can be made up quickly -- simply by combining diced, raw vegetables with oil and herbs; by saute'ing the essential components in olive oil with some garlic; by grilling or roasting vegetables; or by merely pounding such aromatic things as herbs, cheese and oil together in a mortar.

Used in tandem, fresh herbs and summer vegetables make a fine sauce for pasta. Hand-torn basil leaves can be paired with tomatoes, eggplant or zucchini. Eggplant and onions take well to flavoring with thyme or savory. Finely snipped dill (the feathery leaf portions only) is good folded through a sauce based on eggplant. Chives enhance the taste of tomatoes, peppers and both green and yellow squash, and chopped fresh oregano leaves can be used in sauces that contain tomatoes, onions, eggplant, artichokes, and green, yellow or red bell peppers. In some instances, small branches of herbs can be cooked in a particular sauce, then removed, leaving only the essence behind.

Although many vegetables can be turned into a sauce in the time it takes a pot of water to boil for the pasta, some benefit from advance preparation. A combination of vegetables (such as eggplant, zucchini, fennel and tomatoes) can be turned into a ragout and served one day as an appetizer and, several days later, tossed with freshly cooked pasta. Red or yellow bell peppers (or some of each) can be roasted and served with anchovies as part of an antipasto; the remainder can be layered in olive oil with slivers of garlic, and used as part of a sauce.

Following are pasta dishes that highlight summer produce:

LINGUINE WITH EGGPLANT AND THYME (6 servings as an appetizer)

Slices of mixed-grain bread, brushed with garlic oil and toasted or grilled, would be a fine accompaniment to the pasta.

1 eggplant

Salt, for eggplant and pasta water

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil

3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

1/3 cup light chicken broth blended with 1 teaspoon tomato paste

2 teaspoons tiny capers, quickly rinsed in cool water, drained, dried and chopped

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 pound linguine

Peel the eggplant, cut into slices, sprinkle with salt, and place in a colander. Let stand in the colander for 30 minutes. Pat the eggplant dry and cut into cubes.

Heat the 1/3 cup olive oil in a skillet, add the eggplant and saute' until golden and barely tender, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, the additional tablespoon of oil, and cook for 1 minute. Add the thyme and chicken broth mixture, and stir-cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Fold in the capers. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Boil the pasta in plenty of salted water until cooked but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain the linguine in a colander and toss with the eggplant mixture. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 250 calories, 5 gm protein, 26 gm carbohydrates, 15 gm fat, 2 gm saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 46 mg sodium.

SPAGHETTI WITH PEPPERS, ONIONS AND TOMATOES (6 servings as an appetizer)

This pasta sauce is best made after a trip to a local farmers' market. Serve with a warm square of herbed flat bread.

1 pound spaghetti

Salt, for pasta water

1/3 cup olive oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 onions, thinly sliced

1 small green bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced

1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced

1 small yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

6 fresh basil leaves, hand-torn into small pieces

2 tablespoons minced sun-dried tomatoes

1 red, ripe tomato, peeled, seeded and diced

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Boil the pasta in plenty of salted water until cooked but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and onions; stir-cook for 2 minutes. Add the peppers; stir-cook for 2 minutes. Add the thyme and vinegar. Remove from the heat and toss the pepper mixture with the basil, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh tomato. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Drain the spaghetti in a colander and toss with the pepper mixture. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 251 calories, 5 gm protein, 30 gm carbohydrates, 13 gm fat, 2 gm saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 13 mg sodium.

PENNE WITH ZUCCHINI AND OLIVES (6 servings as an appetizer)

Penne, the quill-shaped pasta, dressed with a savory mixture of chopped olives, garlic and saute'ed zucchini, is also good served at room temperature (sprinkled with a little extra oil and vinegar).

3 slender zucchini, scrubbed and trimmed

Salt, for zucchini and pasta water

1 pound penne

1/3 cup oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/3 cup oil-cured black olives, minced

7 fresh basil leaves, hand-torn into small pieces

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Halve the zucchini lengthwise, sprinkle the cut sides with salt, and let stand in a colander for 30 minutes.

Boil the pasta in plenty of salted water until cooked but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, pat zucchini dry and cut into small wedges. Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the garlic and zucchini; stir-cook until the zucchini is tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the olives, basil and red wine vinegar; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Drain the penne in a colander and turn into a warmed bowl. Toss with zucchini mixture. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 237 calories, 5 gm protein, 25 gm carbohydrates, 14 gm fat, 2 gm saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 34 mg sodium.

ZITI WITH ROASTED RED PEPPERS, PINE NUTS AND GARLIC (6 servings as an appetizer)

The peppers, the main ingredient of this sauce, can be roasted ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to five days.

3 red bell peppers

6 tablespoons START NOTE ok w/ lisa cemEND NOTEolive oil

1 pound ziti

Salt, for pasta water

2 plump garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted

Broil the peppers on all sides until charred, place in a paper bag, and close tightly. Let stand for 30 to 40 minutes. Peel, core and deseed the peppers; pull the flesh into strips. Mix with 4 tablespoons of olive oil; use immediately or refrigerate in sealed container for up to 5 days.

Boil the pasta in plenty of salted water until cooked but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, place the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a small saucepan; add the garlic and cook over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the peppers and lemon juice; cook for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Drain the ziti in a colander and turn into a warmed bowl. Toss with the roasted pepper mixture, parsley and pine nuts. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 258 calories, 5 gm protein, 26 gm carbohydrates, 16 gm fat, 2 gm saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 mg sodium.

SPAGHETTINI WITH TOMATOES AND BASIL (6 servings as an appetizer)

In this recipe, piping hot pasta is tossed with an uncomplicated sauce made up of chopped fresh tomatoes, basil, oil and red wine vinegar. With it, serve a loaf of crusty country bread.

1 pound spaghettini

Salt, for pasta water

3 red, ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced

10 fresh basil leaves, hand-torn into small pieces

1/3 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Boil the pasta in plenty of salted water until cooked but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, combine the tomatoes, basil, olive oil and vinegar in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Drain the spaghettini in a colander and turn into bowl. Toss with the tomato mixture. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 230 calories, 5 gm protein, 25 gm carbohydrates, 13 gm fat, 2 gm saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 6 mg sodium.

Lisa Yockelson's most recent book in her series on country baking is "Country Cookies: An Old-Fashioned Collection."