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Rustico

Made with two discs of buttery puff and stuffed with béchamel, mozzarella and just a touch of tomato, the rustico is generally eaten in Lecce and the Salento for breakfast or as an afternoon or late night snack. The best analogy I’ve come across for describing this addictively tasty pastry is a large vol-au-vent with a lid. There are limited written sources available regarding the history of this beloved southern Pugliese snack. Yet, unlike many traditional local dishes, which are often of peasant origin, the rustico was probably invented in the kitchens of the Leccese aristocracy in the late eighteenth to early nineteenth century. Telltale signs include the puff pastry and béchamelsauce, French culinary inventions made with butter, an ingredient only the very wealthy had access to at the time.

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