Since its first publication in 1991, Viana La Place's "Verdura" has become a much loved classic. And with good reason: Its 300 irresistible recipes represent the best of the Italian approach to vegetable preparation, an earthy yet spirited technique that celebrates fresh ingredients simply treated. Many readers have made the book their vegetable cooking bible; those who have not yet added it to their kitchen libraries will want to do so. Contending that eating well-prepared vegetables helps us to appreciate life's natural cycles, La Place presents recipes for antipastos, salads, soups, sandwiches, pasta, risottos, pizzas, and much more. The vegetables she explores run from the familiar - artichokes, aubergines, radicchio - to the more exotic, such as chayote, cardoons, and brocciflower. (La Place sautes this cauliflower-broccoli hybrid in garlic and oil, then tops it with pungent provolone.) Other recipes, such as Soup of Dried Fava Beans with Fresh Fennel, Fettucine with Peas, Green Onions, and Mint, Grilled Bread with Mushrooms and Herbs, and Baked Red Pepper Fritatta, give further evidence of La Place's original yet thoughtful way with the earth's bounty. Desserts are also included, among them Watermelon with Bittersweet Chocolate Shavings, Grilled Figs with Honey and Walnuts, and Lemon Granita and Brioche. With a vegetable and herb guide and an ingredient glossary, Verdura provides comprehensive information while exciting the palate.