Rustici leccesi (Puff pastry with mozzarella and tomato)



Rustici leccesi (Puff pastry with mozzarella and tomato)

Ideal as a snack at any time of day, rustici leccesi is a tasty and flavorful specialty of Italy’s Salento region. Fragrant puff pastry discs envelop a soft filling of béchamel, tomato, and mozzarella. The resulting flaky morsel is easy to prepare: rustici leccesi are excellent when eaten warm. You can find them at all the takeaways and bars in the Salento region. They are traditionally eaten at the beach in summer. This Italian street food epitomizes all the flavors and aromas of Mediterranean cuisine. You can eat them with other street food favorites such as puccia or focaccia for a medley of Apulian flavors.


Ingredients for 8 pieces
Puff pastry 1 lb (920 g)
Tomato puree 2 tbsp (30 g)
Mozzarella cheese 1 ½ tbsp (35 g)
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
Fine salt to taste
For the béchamel sauce
Whole milk ¾ cup (200 g)
Flour 00 3 tbsp (20 g)
Butter 1 ½ tbsp (20 g)
Fine salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Nutmeg to taste
For the wash
Eggs 1

How to prepare Rustici leccesi (Puff pastry with mozzarella and tomato)

To prepare the rustici leccesi first make the béchamel: Heat the milk in a saucepan and melt the butter separately in another saucepan over low heat 1, add the flour 2 and stir quickly with a whisk to prevent any lumps from forming 3.

When all the flour has been incorporated, add the warm milk 4, and let the sauce thicken over medium heat while still stirring 5. Flavor with nutmeg 6,

season with salt 7, and then cover the béchamel with plastic wrap 8 in contact with the surface. Slice the mozzarella and then chop finely 9. If the mozzarella is too wet, leave it to dry in a colander.

Add a drizzle of oil 10 and salt 11 to the tomato puree. Use a 4-inch (10 cm) food ring mold 12

to cut 16 discs from the puff pastry sheet and another 8 discs using a 3-inch (8 cm) food ring mold (13-14). Place 8 of the larger discs on a baking tray lined with parchment paper 15,

brush the surface with beaten egg 16 and place another disc of the same size on top 17. This operation will ensure the pastry puffs upwards and makes the rustici leccesi rise. Place a generous teaspoonful of béchamel in the middle of the disc 18,

then a teaspoonful of tomato puree 19 and a little chopped mozzarella cheese 20. Brush the edges with egg 21

and cover the larger disc with the smaller ones 22, pressing with your fingers to seal the edges 23. Do the same for all the other rustici leccesi and then brush on more beaten egg 24.

The rustici leccesi are now ready to cook 25. Bake in a conventional oven preheated to 400°F (200°C) for about 20 minutes, until they are golden brown 26. Once ready, take your rustici leccesi out of the oven and let them cool before serving 27!


Rustici leccesi are eaten lukewarm. You can keep them in the fridge covered with plastic wrap and eat them by the following day. You can freeze the rustici leccesi uncooked and then defrost them for an hour in the refrigerator before baking as per the recipe!


You can jazz up your rustici leccesi by adding ham if you like.