Event: Blogging Marathon#88
Theme: Regional Cuisine-Day 2
Today we’re going to the heel of Italy, to the region called Apulia or Puglia. This region has the Adriatic Sea to the east, Ionian Sea to the south-east and the Strait of Otranto and Gulf Taranto to the south. This region produces olives, tomatoes, aubergine, asparagus, artichokes and mushrooms.
Salento a region of Apulia is right at the tip or the heel of the boot. Today’s recipe is from Salento area. Rustico (plural is rustici) is a puff pastry filled with sauces and cheese. Its baked and usually enjoyed as a mid morning snack or as an evening appetizer. Two discs of pastry are used to sandwich the sauces and mozzarella cheese.
This pastry was very delicious but because I wanted to make small pastries, it took longer as I was finding it difficult to seal the edges by twisting the dough. Eventually just used a fork to seal the edges. I loved the flavor of the overall pastry as I used the leftover sauce from the lasagna with chickpeas. This sauce already had herbs, onion and garlic.
Next time I make these delicious pastries, I think I’ll make larger ones as they will be much easier to handle.
makes 12 small pastries
Recipe source: My Little Italian Kitchen
500g puff pastry
4-6 tbsp thick tomato sauce
½ cup béchamel sauce
50g mozzarella cheese, cut into 12 pieces
some milk or egg for brushing
Ingredients for Béchamel Sauce:
½ cup milk
1 tbsp plain flour
1½ tbsp butter
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper powder
a generous pinch of nutmeg powder
Preparation of the Béchamel Sauce:
- Heat butter gently in a pan over low heat.
- Add flour and stir fry till it becomes light pink in colour.
- Take the pan off the heat and add the milk, stirring the mixture all the time.
- Return the pan to the heat. Add salt.
- Keep stirring till the sauce thickens.
- Take the pan off the heat.
- Add pepper and nutmeg powder and mix. Let the sauce cool down.
Preparation of the pastries/ rustici:
- Roll out the pastry in a rectangle or square. It should be about ¼ inch thick.
- Using a cookie cutter, cut out 12 big circles.
- Using a cookie cutter smaller than the one used above, cut out 12 circles.
- Brush the large circles with milk or egg.
- On each of the large circles, put a blob or ¼ tsp of the tomato and béchamel sauce.
- Add a piece of cheese on each.
- Cover with the smaller circles. Pinch the seams and twist if you can to seal.
- Otherwise press the seams and using a fork, seal by pressing the fork prongs at the edge.
- Line a baking tray with parchement paper. Arrange the pastry on the tray.
- Put the tray with the pastries in the freezer for 20 -30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Brush the top with milk or egg.
- Bake the pastries for 20-25 minutes or till they are golden brown on top.
- Remove the tray from the oven.
- Serve hot rustici with some tomato sauce.
- I cooked the tomato sauce till it became thick. Thin sauce will make the pastry soggy.
- Make sure the bechamel sauce too is thick.
- I folded the leftover pastry and put it back in the freezer till it became cold. Rolled it out and cut into squares. Brushed with some butter, sprinkled sugar and cinnamon and baked them. Or sprinkle cheese and bake.
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