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Leek and Pancetta Pizza
Making one's own pizza not only frees you from the tyranny of tomato sauce and mozzarella on a too-thick, gooey crust, but with only a couple of tries, it's likely to be far better than anything you can buy. This savory pancetta and leek pizza has no sauce at all, allowing the wonderful taste and crackle of the crust to come through. For a sweeter version, substitute onion for the leek. Other variations that we've liked include a goat cheese and sage pizza and a margharita pie made simply with scattered rounds of mozzarella, fresh basil, and seasoned strips of canned tomatoes from which you've squeezed out the juice.


274 grams all-purpose flour
48 grams whole wheat flour
161 grams levain
200 grams water
9 grams salt
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon olive oil

2 ¼-thick slices pancetta or bacon
1 leek
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 — 1/3 cup freshly grated imported Romano or Parmesan cheese

    Prepare the dough

  1. Feed levain at least 2 hours or the night before beginning.
  2. Mix all ingredients and allow dough to rest, covered ("autolyse") for about 25 min.
  3. Knead by hand for about 7 minutes until dough is silky and elastic.
  4. Cover with oil-misted plastic wrap.
  5. Ferment in bowl 4-5 hours. Can also be refrigerated overnight and brought to room temperature the next day.

    Prepare the topping

  6. An hour before baking, preheat the oven to 500�F (use convection mode if you have it) with baking stone in place, and prepare the toppings as follows:
  7. Trim the leek, keeping only the white portion. Wash and slice into quarter-inch pieces.
  8. Cut the pancetta into quarter-inch cubes and sauté in a non-stick pan over medium-low heat until translucent, but not fully cooked.
  9. Remove the pancetta to paper towels and pour off most of the fat. Add the leek and saut� under low heat until just soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to brown.

    Assemble and bake

  10. Liberally flour your countertop and hands. Divide dough in half, forming each half into a ball. Taking one dough ball at a time, gently press and stretch it out on a well-floured countertop to form a small disk. Then get your floured hands under the disk so that it's resting on your knuckles, and start moving your hands in a circular motion to rotate the dough, stretching and turning, giving the dough little flips to move it. As the dough moves around your hands, it should be increasing in size. Look for any thick spots and stretch them out. Don't worry if it's not round, but do try to make the thickness consistent. (Alternately, you can form the pie by pushing and stretching the dough right on the countertop, if this top-of-knuckle business makes you nervous.)
  11. Drop onto a peel that has been well-covered with corn meal or rice flour and do the final shaping, poking the dough with your fingers around to perimeter to form a raised crust.
  12. Brush the crust lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with half of the grated cheese, and add half of the leek and pancetta.
  13. Slide pizza onto stone, and make the next pie while this one is baking.
  14. Bake until crust is golden brown on edges.