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Abbondariza Tender artichokes, curly endive, plump eggplants, fragrant fennel -- these are a mere sampling of the treasures found in the fields of Tuscany, where vegetables are not just a side dish. Here Italian heritage expert Anne Bianchi shares the secretsold and new-of how vegetables are prepared in this exquisite region. As Italian chefs continually explore new ways to enjoy their country's harvest, Solo Verdura reflects the latest in today's Tuscan cooking. Appreciated for their infinite variety., seasonal goodness, and incredible flexibility, vegetables are especially dear to the Tuscan palate. Anne Bianchicaptures the Italian passion for good food with contemporary recipes and engaging vignettes about the countrv and its people. Beginning with "Essentials," Solo Verdura includes helpful tips on how to buy, store, and clean various vegetables, from the ever-popular porcini mushroom to the relatively unknown salsify, cardoon, and celeriac. Once you know how to choose the best, Bianchi offers a variety of preparation techniques: braising, saute steaming, frying, and stewing; roasting, boiling, baking, and grilling. She follows with eight chapters full of recipes for Tuscany's harvest: Leaves and Stalks; The Cabbage Family; Roots, Tubers, and Bulbs; Pods and Seeds, Vegetable Fruits; Mushrooms and Truffles; Vegetable Medleys; and finally, Broths, Sauces, Pestos, Oils, and Dough. In typical Tuscan fashion, these accessible recipes respect the natural flavors of vegetables without masking them in overpowering sauces. Melanzana Ripiena (Eggplant Boats Stuffed with Gorgonzola Polenta), Ravioli di Broccoli Proftanati con Limoncino e Scalogne (Broccoli Ravioli Perfumed withShallots and Lemon Balm), and Crostata di Scarola, Cicoria e Acetosa (Bitter Greens Tart) are just a few of the dishes that will show you how to cook and savor vegetables Italian-style. Illustrated with over fifty black-and-white photographs, Solo Verdura brings a little bit of Tuscany into your home.