If you have pasta, Arthur Schwartz says, you have dinner. Mr. Schwartz, author of a new book, "What to Cook When You Think There's Nothing in the House to Eat" (HarperPerennial, paperback, $15) mixes vegetables with canned plum tomatoes to make a sauce called sugo finto, meaning "fake sauce." It has a meat-like texture without any meat.
-! Here are some of his recipes:
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 medium carrot, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 medium rib celery, finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 14- or 16-ounce can Italian-style plum tomatoes, with juice (1 3/4 to 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
big pinch of sugar, if necessary
In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, saute the onion, carrot and celery in olive oil until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes and break up with the back of a wooden spoon. Simmer briskly for about 15 minutes. Season with salt and 5 to 8 twists of the pepper mill. Add sugar if sauce is a little acidic.
Makes about 2 dozen.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup flour
Heat oven to 400 degrees. With a fork, cream together the butter and cheese. With a wooden spoon, blend in the flour. Chill until mixture is firm enough to roll out.
On a lightly floured board, roll the dough to a 1/4 -inch thickness. With a cookie cutter or glass tumbler, cut the dough into rounds.
Place on unbuttered baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool thoroughly before serving.
Iceberg lettuce, chopped coarsely
Kalamata or other dark olives
onion, sliced or chopped (preferably red or sweet Bermuda)
small picked green peppers, sometimes called Tuscan, sometimes Greek (optional)
marinated artichoke hearts (optional)
FOR ABOUT 1/2 CUP DRESSING:
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 small clove garlic, crushed or mashed
1 rounded teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 to 8 tablespoons olive oil
In a salad bowl, or on individual plates or shallow bowls, make a bed of the lettuce.
On top of the lettuce, crumble the feta cheese, then arrange all the remaining ingredients.
To make the dressing, dissolve the salt in the vinegar in a small bowl then add remaining ingredients, except the oil. Stir to mix, then beat in the oil with a fork or whisk.
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons butter
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Butter a 7- or 8-inch skillet.
Separate the eggs into two bowls. Using a hand-held electric mixer (or a wire whisk), beat the yolks until mixed well, then beat in the sugar and continue beating until the yolks form a slowly dissolving ribbon when they fall off the beaters.
Rinse and dry the beaters thoroughly, then beat the egg whites until stiff.
Fold the whites into the yolks then pour into the buttered skillet. Bake for 10 minutes and serve immediately.