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Flavorful Toppings for a Robust Sourdough Crust

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To make this Sourdough Pizza Crust, get the recipe here » [Photograph: Aaron Mattis]

Having had great success with dough recipes from Peter Reinhart's American Pie, I expected his sourdough crust to be as tangy and aromatic as the best examples of this superior variety of bread. My toppings would have to be equally assertive and delicious to create balanced and harmonious pizza.

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To make this Roasted Tomato, Ricotta, and Lemon Pizza, get the recipe here » [Photograph: Cameron Mattis]

I wanted to do a plain pie, but I felt a classic Margherita would not be best-suited for this crust. I like to roast tomatoes at low heat to concentrate their flavor and develop their sugars, a technique I picked up from Tom Colicchio's Think Like a Chef. Tomatoes cooked this way shine in many applications, from risotto to salads, and I knew they would be great on a pizza. Lemon zest and ricotta made with fresh lemon juice using Kenji's five-minute recipe added acidity and vibrant grace notes to an already delicious pie.

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To make this Roasted Garlic, Caramelized Leek, and Bacon Pizza, get the recipe here » [Photograph: Aaron Mattis]

A childhood friend of mine loved garlic and onion pizza, one of the most delicious pies to eat, and probably the worst for your breath. I developed a more grown-up version, using sweet, mellow roasted garlic paste and leeks gently caramelized in rendered bacon fat. The resulting pie was just as delicious as the ones I remembered from long-ago sleepovers, but mellower and more complex because of its slow-cooked toppings. The crispy bacon didn't hurt either.

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