Eaters Digest: Roman Zucchini Pizza at Rustico Italian Street Food

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Eat This: Zucchini Pizza at Rustico Italian Street Food

Rustico Italian Street Food opened a few weeks ago in the former Planet Fresh Burritos space on the corner of Locust Street and Cedar Street in downtown Santa Cruz, and is already an integral part of this little food corridor just one block from Pacific Avenue. . Chief Francesco Ramunnoformerly of Mentone, Tramonti and Pizzeria La Bufala, offers long, rectangular Roman-style pizzas by the slice or whole pies, as well as panini on homemade focaccia and a few fried snacks, including baseball-sized arancini or stuffed risotto balls.

A slice of Roman-style zucchini pizza at Rustico Italian Street Food in Santa Cruz. Credit: Lily Belli / Belvedere of Santa Cruz

Unlike its popular South Naples cousin, Roman pizza has a thin crust with a cracker-like crunch and has its own array of traditional toppings. I loved the zucchini ($9 slice/$40.50 whole), with sweet zucchini over caramelized onions and mozzarella. Out of the oven, Ramunno tops it with stracciatella – the creamy cheese in a ball of burrata – which oozes luxuriously onto the hot slice.

But when I saw that Ramunno had panzerotto ($15) on its menu, I could barely contain my excitement. I haven’t seen this style of pizza in the United States, but my husband and I fell in love with it in Naples after walking into a pizzeria with a line around the block. Panzerotto is essentially a margherita pizza that is folded into a calzone and then fried until golden brown. You don’t need me to tell you it’s delicious.

Rustico will open for lunch starting this Saturday, March 9, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and is currently serving dinner every night of the week from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and until 10 p.m. on Fridays.


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