The Glorious Vegetables of Italy By Domenica MarchettiChronicle Books, 272 pages, $30

The more you explore the world of vegetable cookery—whether in China, India, Europe, or the South—the more you realize that plants are every bit as delicious as meat. Period.

Marchetti's Eggplant "Meatballs" in Tomato Sauce is simply dazzling as a proof of concept—rich, succulent, vibrant, satisfying. Her Smashed Green Beans and Potatoes with Pancetta proves again that some vegetables should not be al dente: The beans meld with the potatoes in comfort food of the highest order.

This simple, contemplative, seductive book offers Bread Soup with Summer Squash; Beet and Beet Green Gratin; Riccioli with Peas and Porcini; and staples like Basic Beans in a Pot.