Pizzeria Rosso in Norwalk

Amy Kundrat
At Pizzeria Rosso, it’s a family affair. As chef and partner of Norwalk’s newest take-out pizzeria, Pasquale Pascarella is the driving force behind this old world meets new world approach to pizza. His cousin handles the dough, his mother arrives each morning at 7 a.m. to make the sauce, and Dad shuttles the pies from oven to destinations in Norwalk and just beyond.
A veteran chef of Stamford’s Old Saltwater Grille where he remains a partner, Pasquale decided that a take-out pizza business would help him embrace what he loves about cooking—and traditional Neapolitan pizza as well as Italian-inspired dishes (he cites San Francisco’s A16 pizza as inspiration) would be his muse. 
After family, next in the line of importance to this tiny space are the ingredients. A huge sack of Caputo flour and a case of San Marzano tomatoes sit stacked up next to the take-out counter. A not so subtle nod to the origins of your pizza and an intentional reminder that ingredients matter here. Hidden are the pounds of Grande (part-skim, low moisture) and Buffala mozzarella that sit safely chilling in the walk-in. But that sauce, a daily five-hour ritual of simmering San Marzano tomatoes and garlic at the hands of Pasquale's Italian mother, is the stuff memories are made of.  


At the core of each 12 or 16 inch pie are puffy and pliable crusts, the direct result of a three to four day cold fermentation with caputo flour (a 00 pizza flour and a key ingredient in Neopolitan pies). A final light dusting of a flour and corn meal coats the bottom of the flattened final discs before being topped and sliding into the small Baker’s Pride oven. The combination of flour and corn meal to the dough lends just the subtlest grainy texture to the crust. Pasquale tops each pie with a drizzle of olive oil and kosher salt before sealing the box for delivery.

The crust and sauce are the solid foundation upon which Pizzeria Rosso’s “Old World” and “New World” pies are built upon. Listed on a chalk board beneath “Neapolitan Style Pizzas” are these two distinct categories dueling for your attention. My recommendation is to split the difference and order one from each.


The “Old World” pies are familiar combinations such as Margherita, Bianco, Tutti Carne and Clams Casino among others. The Margherita sets the bar high with buffalo mozzarella and halved cherry tomatoes that let the ingredients have their starring role. The cherry tomatoes make this less recognizeable than the usual Margherita suspect, but it is Rosso's take and it works well here. The balance of cheese, sauce and crust is calibrated well in this must-try pie.

Over in the “New World,” things take a decidedly complex turn. Beginning with the Trudo, a satisfying combination of smoked mozzarella, buffala mozzarella, carmelized onions and arugula. This is a pizza that would make me a regular, the sweet and smokiness of the mozzarella and onions pairing perfectly with the spicy greens. The smoked mozz made me feel guilty, as if I were cheating on an old friend but make this pie reach its potential.

A few other notable “New World” combinations are named after family and friends, including the Spoto, a wild mushrooms, pancetta and fontina; the Antimo, a marinara, fresh tomato, garlic and oregano pie (perfect for the dairy intolerant); and the Damian, dotted with speck, gouda, arugula and truffle oil.


Of course you can go ahead and add, multiply or divide your pies with any number of their “standard” or “artisan” toppings, a dizzying list that could make even the most decisive person go cross-eyed. But with Pasquale’s deft pairings, definitely begin with a foot in each “World” before you go mixing it up.


The food at Pizzeria Rosso doesn’t stop at pies. A list of salads, calzones, paninis and entrees rival most any other Italian restaurant, but not any Italian restaurant could rival their pizzas or even come close. With food this solidly satisfying, you hate to see it only offered as only take-out. The steamy interiors of a take-out box and any delivery time longer than 10 steps from oven to table are too long for a good Neapolitan pie like this. Until tables and chairs appear, tail-gating anyone?

Pizzeria Rosso is located at 4 New Canaan Avenue in Norwalk, CT and is open everyday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m.. More information online at www.Facebook/PizzeriaRosso.com.