Crunchy pastry with tomato and mozzarella inside — this snack can also be served as an appetizer! Give Rustico Leccese (Tomato and Mozzarella Pastry) a try, and it will surely become a staple on your table too!
(*This post contains some affiliate links)
Lecce is a part of Salento, a region in the southern portion of Puglia, Italy. Some Leccese considered this Rustico pastry as a street-food even if it’s normally served in bars and coffee shops.
It does not make a difference to me, really. I’m just glad that it’s simple enough that I can make it regularly in Stockholm, and I don’t even have to prepare the dough!
- Tomato sauce – use whatever favorite brand you have.
- Salt & pepper – you need this for both the white sauce as well as the filling of Rustico Leccese.
- Mozzarella – drained and grated.
- Puff pastry – no need to make your own, just buy them from the supermarket, like what I used in this recipe.
- Butter – I use unsalted butter.
- Milk – regular full-cream milk.
Start by preparing the white (bechamel) sauce: melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Once the butter has melted, add flour (photo 1).
Mix for about two minutes (do not let it turn brown), then pour hot milk.
Mix, and bring to a boil, then season with salt and pepper (photo 2).
Mix and let cook for three more minutes, then take the pan off the heat and set aside to cool.
Prepare the puff pastry dough by cutting two different sizes: one is fifteen cm. in diameter, and the other is about thirteen cm (photo 3).
Brush the bigger circle of dough with egg white, then add two teaspoons of the white sauce (photo 4).
Add at least two teaspoons of tomato sauce, season with salt and pepper, and at least two teaspoons of grated mozzarella (photo 5).
Use the smaller circle of pastry to cover and seal the sides by pressing with your fingers (photo 6).
Place the covered Rustico pastry in a baking tray lined with a sheet, then place the tray in the refrigerator for at least sixty minutes — keep the pastries uncovered.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (375°F).
Remove the tray from the refrigerator and brush the pastries with the remaining egg white (photo 7).
Bake them in the oven for twenty to twenty-five minutes or until they turned golden.
Serve Rustico Leccese right away!
- Make sure your puff pastry is soft, not frozen. It will break apart once you try to unroll it, and it’s still frozen.
- The white sauce should be cold when you add it on top of the dough.
- Do not forget to season with salt and pepper, especially if you are using tomato sauce.
- You can use homemade marinara sauce or passata instead of tomato sauce. I specifically like using marinara sauce because I can control the amount of water in it and the seasoning.
So what are you waiting for? Give Rustico Leccese a try and let me know what you think in the comment section below!
If you want to know more traditional Italian street food, then you would like Panelle (Sicilian Chickpea Fritters) and Neapolitan Eggplant Meatballs (Polpette di Melanzane)!
Note: This post was initially published in March 2018. It has now been updated with new images, new video, and more detailed recipe instructions — PLUS Annalisa’s comment below. Grazie! 🙂
Rustico Leccese Recipe
- 2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
- 1 tbsp butter, unsalted
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp milk, hot
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup mozzarella, grated
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper, to season
Prepare the white sauce:
- Using a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
- Add flour and mix for about 2 minutes (do not let it turn brown).
- Pour hot milk, mix, then bring to a boil.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook for about 3 more minutes, then take off the heat and set aside to cool.
Prepare Rustico (pastry):
- Cut two sizes of pastries from the dough: one is 15 cm. in diameter, and the other is about 13 to 12 cm.
- Brush the 15-cm pastry with egg white, then add 2 teaspoons of the cooled white sauce.
- Add at least 2 teaspoons of tomato sauce, season with salt and pepper, and at least 2 teaspoons of grated mozzarella.
- Use the smaller circle of pastry to cover and seal the sides by pressing with your fingers.
- Place each covered Rustico pastry in a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Place the tray in the refrigerator for at least 60 minutes to chill, uncovered.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (375°F).
- Remove the tray from the refrigerator and brush the pastries with the remaining egg white.
- Place the tray in the oven for 20 to 25 or until they turned golden in color.
- Serve and enjoy your Rustico Leccese!
- Cook’s Tip #1: Make sure your puff pastry is not frozen, or it’s going to crack when you try to unroll it.
- Cook’s Tip #2: Check that the white sauce is already cold before you start adding it on top of the dough.
- Cook’s Tip #3: Do not skip the salt and pepper for seasoning the filling of the pastry.
- Variation #1: Marinara sauce or passata can be used instead of tomato sauce — as an added point, marinara sauce is already properly seasoned.