Barrett (coauthor, Risotto, 1987) promises methods here for making vegetables ""as delicious as they are in Italy""--but never acknowledges in her wordy advisory that the packaged fresh spinach and other American supermarket fare she calls for is neither ""from an Italian garden"" nor very garden-fresh; nor can you make good Italian bread in a standard American oven. Her offhand background comments can be just as questionable: Food historians would like to hear, for instance, about how Horace enjoyed eating pasta. Still, her sampling of Italian vegetable dishes is good and varied. Here, along with solo vegetables used mostly in antipasti, are vegetable bruschetta and pizza toppings, pasta sauces, enhancements for polenta, more risotto, frittata, and salad, and, in a switch, fruit (not vegetable) desserts. So the main question becomes just how much of this you can absorb on top of so many other Italian vegetable cookbooks, from Paolo Scaravelli and Jori Cohen's Cooking from an Italian Garden (1984) to last year's The Antipasto Table, by Michele Scicolone, and Verdura, by Viana La Place and Evan Kleiman.