DINNER TONIGHT

Vegetable Linguine

(4 to 6 servings)

Finding a quick and healthful dinner is easier than you think. For example, the most time-consuming aspect of this dish is chopping the vegetables, which can be done while the water for the pasta comes to a boil. Once the veggies are cut into matchstick pieces, they take but a few minutes to cook. This is one of more than 100 wonderfully varied ideas found in "Light Pasta Sauces" by Maggie Ramsay (Rizzoli, $17.50).

1 pound linguine

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic, sliced

5 sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 cup green beans, sliced lengthwise

2 young carrots, julienned

1/2 red bell pepper, julienned

1/2 yellow bell pepper, julienned

1 young leek, cut into 3-inch pieces and then julienned

4 tablespoons dry white wine

4 tablespoons vegetable stock or low-sodium chicken broth

1 to 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)

Prepare the pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan or wok over medium-high heat, add the oil. When it is hot, add the garlic, thyme, beans, carrots, peppers and leek and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the wine and stock or broth to the vegetable mixture. Increase the heat to high and stir-fry until the liquid reduces to about 2 tablespoons, 2 to 3 minutes. Do not overcook. Add the balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste and toss.

Drain the hot pasta and toss with the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with the pine nuts, if desired, and serve immediately.

Per serving (based on 4): 508 calories, 16 gm protein, 96 gm carbohydrates, 6 gm fat, trace cholesterol, 1 gm saturated fat, 33 mg sodium, 6 gm dietary fiber

Add this Web site to your bookmarks:

www.ethnicgrocer.com

Who has time to track down an ethnic grocery store every time there's a recipe that demands an unusual ingredient? We're lucky to find enough time to cook, let alone traipse all over town! But if you want to build an interesting spice shelf or pantry full of hard-to-find goods, check out this Web site with more than 20,000 basic ingredients from more than 20 countries. It also describes various cuisines and provides recipes.

We couldn't stop oohing and ahhing over these adorable--and aptly named--"Lilliput" salt and pepper shakers. Designed by Stefano Giovannoni for Alessi, these itty-bitty, chubby thermoplastic shakers know how to hang ten. They can either shimmy down their pole with their magnetically charged feet or take a break and stand upright on the stainless-steel base. This is affordable--albeit not very refined--dinner entertainment.

Lilliput shakers are available in blue, green, orange and yellow for $42 at Chiasso, Tysons Corner Center, McLean; call 703-506-0420 or 1-800-654-3570.

Help for the Well-Seasoned Pig

Shauna Anderson, of Hyattsville, whose contribution to the culinary world is fully cleaned chitterlings, has found another way to save cooks prep time. Her new sauce for long-simmered pig intestines, Gourmet Chitlin Seasoning Blend, is now available at Anderson's store, Chitlin Market and Company (3014 Hamilton St. in Hyattsville), as well as by mail. "I wanted to make it even easier for people. So, I went into the kitchen, took a bit of this and that [she won't say exactly which seasonings]. I put my picture on the bottle. And that was it," she says. Anderson also uses the vinegar- based sauce as a marinade for pork tenderloin. A 12.5- ounce bottle is $3.79. Call 301-559-6293 or visit her Web site: www.chitlinmarket.com

To Do

FRIDAY: Fooles and Fricassees: Food in Shakespeare's England--exhibit at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Free. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., through Dec. 30. 201 E. Capitol St. SE. Call 202-544-7077.

FRIDAY-SUNDAY: Greek Festival featuring traditional foods at St. Theodore Greek Orthodox Church. Free admission. Noon-9 p.m. 7101 Cipriano Rd., Lanham, Md. Call 301-552-3540.

SUNDAY: Slavic American Festival featuring traditional foods at Epiphany of Our Lord Byzantine Catholic Church. Free admission. Noon-7 p.m. 3410 Woodburn Rd., Annandale. Call 703-573-3986.

SUNDAY: Vegemite, the Aussie Caviar--lecture and tasting sponsored by the Culinary Historians of Washington. Guest speaker: Smithsonian Institution scholar Miguel Bretos. Free. 4 p.m. Eckles Library, Mount Vernon College, 2100 Foxhall Rd. NW. Call 301-439-0189.

SUNDAY: Kendall-Jackson wine dinner at Market Street Bar & Grill. 6 p.m. $65 includes tax and tip. Presidents and Market streets, Reston. Call 703-709-6262.

TUESDAY: Kobrand wine dinners at Maggiano's Little Italy. $65 plus tax and tip. 6:30 p.m. At both 5333 Wisconsin Ave. NW; call 202-966-5500; and 2001 International Dr., Tysons Galleria, McLean; call 703-356-9000.

TUESDAY: LaDoucette wine dinner at the Jefferson Hotel. Sponsored by the Tasters Guild. $80. 7 p.m. 16th and M streets. Call 202-223-1700.

RESERVE NOW:

SEPT. 17: 1945: A Taste of History--buffet dinner and swing dancing at the Decatur House Museum. Benefits their preservation and education programs. $75-$150. 6:30 p.m. 748 Jackson Place NW. Call 202-842-0920.

SEPT. 18: Stocks, Soups and Sauces-- demonstration and tasting with chef Jeff Tunks at DC Coast. Sponsored by the American Institute of Wine and Food. $50 for nonmembers. 11 a.m. 1401 K St. NW. Call 202-357-4795.

SEPT. 20: Cocktails and Cookbooks--book signing with "Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook" author Alice Waters at Restaurant Nora. Sponsored by Women Chefs & Restaurateurs. $25 for nonmembers in advance; $30 for nonmembers at the door. 4:30-6:30 p.m. 2132 Florida Ave. NW. Call 877-WCR-RSVP.

SEPT. 20: Dinner with "Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook" author Alice Waters at Restaurant Nora. $100 includes tax and tip. 7 p.m. 2132 Florida Ave. NW. Call 202-462-5143, ext. 23.