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updated 9/4/2013 7:32:45 PM ET 2013-09-04T23:32:45

Giada De Laurentiis has a new gig — as a children's book author!

The first two installments of the chef's new children's book series, "Recipe for Adventure," just came out on Sept. 3. They follow the adventures of a brother and sister named Alfie and Emilia who magically get transported to different cities, where they learn how delicious home cooking can be. At the back of each book, readers find recipe cards featuring dishes from the places Alfie and Emilia visited.

Here are recipes for tomato-basil pizza and zeppole from Giada's "Recipe for Adventure: Naples!" book.

Recipe: Tomato-basil pizza (on this page) Recipe: Zeppole (on this page) Recipe: Hot chocolate (on this page) Recipe: Crepes (on this page)

© 2013 NBCNews

Recipe: Tomato-basil pizza

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 large tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (if you can find them, Roma tomatoes are best for this)
  • 1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 packed cup fresh basil leaves, torn or coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
Preparation

Note: Make sure you have a parent or adult help you make this recipe.

For the dough:
In a small bowl, combine the warm water and yeast. The water should be "hand hot," so that it's not too hot to put your fingers in, but not lukewarm. Stir until the yeast is dissolved.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and salt together. Add the yeast mixture and stir until a soft dough forms. If the dough is too dry, you can add a little extra water, 1 tablespoon at a time. If the dough is too sticky, add extra flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. With floured hands, knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 5-7 minutes.

Drizzle the inside of a clean bowl with olive oil and rub it all around to coat the inside of the bowl. This keeps the dough from sticking to the bowl. Put the dough in the bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean, damp kitchen towel. Set the bowl in a warm, draft-free place. (I like to place my dough in the oven, which I've preheated to 200 degrees F. If you want to try this method, remember to make sure you turn off the oven before the dough goes in!) Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours.

After your dough has risen, punch it down with your fist and form a ball. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let it rest for 1 hour. If you are not going to make your pizza right away, wrap your dough in plastic and refrigerate it for up to 1 day.

To make the pizza:
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Sprinkle the cornmeal on a large rimless baking sheet.

On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough onto a 12-inch diameter circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, making sure the cornmeal is evenly distributed on the bottom of the dough.

Drizzle the pizza dough with olive oil. Spread the minced garlic over the dough, then sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge for the crust. Place the tomato slices in a single layer over the cheese and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the basil leaves on top. Drizzle with olive oil again and bake until the crust is crisp and brown on the bottom and the cheese is melted, about 18-20 minutes. Sprinkle with a little salt and cut into slices.

Serve immediately. Buon appetito! Enjoy!

Recipe: Zeppole

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 3 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (the secret ingredient!)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • Olive oil, for frying
Preparation

Note: Make sure you have a parent or adult help you make this recipe.

In a small bowl, combine the 1/2 cup sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir until it's mixed and then set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, salt, 3 tablespoons sugar and water over medium heat. Once it starts to boil, carefully take the pan off the heat and stir in the flour. Once the flour is mixed in, return the pan to medium heat and keep stirring until the dough forms a ball.

This should take about 3-5 minutes. Transfer the mixture into a medium bowl. Using a spoon or an electric hand mixer (if you have one) on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing in each egg completely before adding the next. Beat the mixture until it is nice and smooth. If you're not going to fry your zeppole right away, cover the mixture with some plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator.

Now, to fry the zeppole! First pour enough olive oil into a large frying pan so that the oil is about 2 inches deep. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 375 degrees F.

Use a large spoon to scoop up about a tablespoon of dough, then use another spoon to carefully slide the dough off into the hot oil. (It's best to fry the zeppole in small batches.) Turn the zeppole once or twice, cooking them until they are golden and puffed up, about 5 minutes. When they are done, drain them on paper towels. Gently toss the zeppole in the cinnamon-sugar-nutmeg mixture until they are coated.

Eat them while they are still hot. Yum! Where will they take you?

Recipe: Hot chocolate

Ingredients
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped or broken into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Preparation

In a large saucepan, whisk together the milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring to just below a boil over medium-high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate and sugar. Stir constantly until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Keep warm over low heat until ready to serve.

Savor every sip!

Serving Size

Makes 6 servings

Recipe: Crepes

Ingredients
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into about 10 cubes
Preparation

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, milk, flour, sugar and salt. Whisk until the mixture forms a smooth batter. Preheat a 10-inch nonstick frying pan or skillet over medium-low heat. Melt 1 cube of butter in the pan. Add ¼ cup of batter and quickly tilt the pan to form an even coating of batter on the bottom of the pan. Cook for 1 minute until set and slightly browned. Using a heat-resistant spatula, carefully loosen the sides and gently flip over the crepe. Cook for 1 minute. Repeat with remaining batter and butter. Place the crepes on the prepared baking sheet and place in a warm oven, for up to 20 minutes, until ready to serve.

You can use lots of things for crepe fillings! For sweet crepes, try sliced bananas and chocolate sauce, raspberry or strawberry jam, peanut butter and jelly, or chocolate-hazelnut spread. For savory crepes, try ham, bacon, cheese, mushrooms or spinach.

Video: Giada: I’m writing adventure stories for kids

  1. Closed captioning of: Giada: I’m writing adventure stories for kids

    >>> back now with the real reason giada de laurentiis is here cooking with us. she is the chef and "today" contributor and author of a children's book, a whole series, actually, about cooking and travel. the first is out this week. recipe for adventures, the series. this one is called naples . tell us about your life as a chef. as a children's book author.

    >> well, this is a very big departure for me, not a cookbook. most people think it would be a kid's cookbook. it's actually an adventure story . and the adventure takes you to different cities. and the first two cities are naples and paris, near and dear to my heart. naples is where my grandfather was born and basically the passion of food for my entire family. and what's famous in naples is pizza , and in my opinion, the best pizza in the world and best doughnuts.

    >> each book has a recipe in it.

    >> recipe in each book. pertaining to the story of these two kids, the brother and sister, go on.

    >> let's do pizza and near and dear to your heart for a lot of reasons, right? your grandfather?

    >> my grandfather, jade, all of it. we're going to make pizza . what we're going to do first, you guys, pounding it out like nick is doing. what are you doing? what are you doing? and stretch it out a little bit. and this is something fun that actually natalie was asking earlier she can never do. you stick your hand underneath like that. go, ready? no, put -- yep. ready, one, two, three, and then you put it up in the air and you catch it with your fist, just like that. and then basically the idea being you can make your dough from scratch if you want. but you can buy store-bought dough or frozen dough, roll it out. we're going to roll it out with the rolling pin . and then you can top it with whatever you want . when i was a kid, had this is what my grandfather used to do, make dough and buy a bunch of toppings and we would all make our own pizza .

    >> do you put -- what's the real way to do it?

    >> yes, you put sauce on it, although i don't really see much sauce here. but you can put sauce and cheese. you know what you can do is just put a little bit of cheese. and then you put the tomatoes and any other topping, and more cheese. and you can put meat. yeah, this one is a little -- it's got a little heart to this. it's okay. this is what we like to do. cornmeal on the baking sheet , pizza on the baking sheet . cornmeal is the yellow one. i like it because it gives it texture.

    >> there you go.

    >> and then you put a little bit of cheese on the top.

    >> i say a lot of cheese.

    >> well, here, you can do a lot of cheese like that. and then you can pick all your toppings, whatever toppings you want.

    >> all right.

    >> next what are you going to put? come on. don't be afraid.

    >> put your toppings on and how long do you bake it?

    >> and then i bake it for about 15, 20 minutes .

    >> okay.

    >> and i like to bake it at a hot temperature, 400. and then you can see the kids can kind of just play and do whatever they want.

    >> okay, a minute. let's do dessert. and this is something i actually --

    >> italian doughnuts , sold on the streets of naples . kids, if you guys want to eat pizza , you can eat pizza too. i think they're decorating now. so anyway, you met butter and water together. and you heat it up. then you add flour. very easy to make.

    >> oh, good.

    >> and the flour you just cook all together. until it gets nice and thick.

    >> how long should that take?

    >> this is going to take four or five minutes.

    >> okay.

    >> and cook out the flour until it's not, you know, lumpy anymore. then you take it off the heat.

    >> outrageously good. so good. i can hardly take it.

    >> just crack the egg right in here. and mix the eggs in. and once you've mixed all the eggs in, put it back on the heat for another five minutes until it's cooked and you get a nice dough.

    >> beautiful.

    >> deep fried.

    >> and pretasted by natalie and willie.

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