Crunchy pastry with tomato and mozzarella inside — this snack can also be served as an appetizer! Give Tomato and Mozzarella Pastry (Rustico Leccese) a try and it will surely become a staple on your table too!
Lecce is a part of Salento, a region in the southern portion of Puglia, Italy. Some Leccese considered this 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!
How to make Rustico Leccese
You can prepare all your ingredients for this recipe in advance.
How do I make Bechamel Sauce?
I know there are TONS of recipes out there on how to make this basic French sauce. But for me personally, I have been using this Epicurious recipe for years. It has never failed me. Also, if you have some nutmeg available, add a dash in there as well.
For rustico leccese, it’s more convenient if your béchamel sauce is quite solid. So, I normally prepare mine earlier, cover it with a plastic and then refrigerate.
Can I use Tomato Paste as a substitute?
Yes, you can. However, if you do this, you have to make sure you use salt and pepper for seasoning when preparing each pastry. If you are using tomato sauce, make sure it’s not watery. This makes a big difference in the result, trust me. 🙂
I do not add any salt or pepper in each pastry – because both my sauces are seasoned exactly the way I like them.
How to Serve Tomato and Mozzarella Pastry
I bet you already know my answer. Yep, with wine. 🙂
No, seriously, if you want it as a mid-morning snack, you might like coffee with it. The thing is, in Lecce, they normally have it with their ‘Caffe Leccese’. This is a traditional coffee that is only from their region and is served cold (as in with bits of ice – YUM!). If you are not in Puglia and you have the almond-flavored coffee liquor that is needed for making this special coffee – I hate you 🙂 . For those of us who do not have this coffee liquor from Salento, we just have to be content with a cappuccino or an espresso.
As for the rest of the day, tomato and mozzarella pastry goes so well with wine. You can take my word for it — that’s how we enjoy it at home. 🙂
For other recipes from Puglia, check out my post on ‘Focaccia Barese’.
Video on how to make tomato and mozzarella pastry
(*This post contains some affiliate links)
MY AMAZON PICKS:
- 2 sheets puff pastry (about 500 grams)
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup bechamel sauce, cold
- 1/2 cup mozzarella, grated
- 1 egg, separated
- salt and pepper, for seasoning
Using a cookie cutter or any round plate, cut circles from the puff pastry. Five of them would be 12 to13 cm, while the remaining five would be slightly smaller, 11 to 12 cm.
Place bigger circles of dough on a baking pan with a baking sheet. Brush the top side of each dough with egg white.
At the center of the circle, place a small amount (about 1 to 1 & ½ tsp) of béchamel sauce, 1 tsp of tomato sauce and sprinkle with grated mozzarella. Add a dash of salt and pepper, if desired.
Place the smaller circle of dough on top of the mixture, making sure that the mixture stays in the middle of the circle.
Close the edges of the smaller circle of dough and place the baking pan in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 200°C/375°F.
Once oven is ready, take the baking pan out of the refrigerator and brush the pastry with egg white.
Place in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry has turned brown.