Italians, and northern Italians in particular, are justly famous for knowing how to get the most out of vegetables by doing the least to them. For everyone who has overplanted the garden at home or been tempted by the produce at a farm market and brought way too much home, this elegant little book with its 100 recipes, from artichokes to zucchini, provides plenty of inspiration.
Thoughtfully organized by vegetable, each chapter in Verdure offers a handful of tasty recipes plus basic advice about selection and cooking times for steaming, sautéing, boiling, microwaving, or roasting. Vitale also points out compatible flavors for each vegetable, which is highly useful for devising impromptu menus. (Spinach, for example, has great affinities with butter, olive oil, mild and sharp cheeses, pastry, garlic, smoked meats, walnuts, pine nuts, nutmeg, and more.) From Artichoke Fritatta and Baked Fennel with Béchamel Sauce to Raw Zucchini Salad with Parmigiano-Reggiano, the recipes all look simple and delicious. (Ginger Curwen)