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Overhead image of a Marinara Pizzette Pizza

Pizza Rossa: A Slice of Tradition

Among the many recipes in Chef Massimo Vicidomini’s culinary repertoire, the Pizza Rossa stands out as a dish deeply rooted in tradition and personal history. Also known as “Marinara,” meaning “Fisherman”, this recipe hails from a pizzeria in the South of Italy and reflects its origins and practical value.

Historically, the Pizza Rossa was the go-to meal for fishermen heading out to sea. There were two main reasons for its popularity, “Fishermen would take Pizza Rossa with them to sea because it stored better without cheese, and it was more affordable,” explains Chef Vicidomini.

But the reason why this pizza is so important is because it also holds a special place in Chef Massimo’s heart for personal reasons. “This pizza was my grandfather’s, Nonno Luigi, favorite pizza, and he passed away a few years ago. Making Pizza Rossa is a way for me to honor his memory and keep a piece of our family tradition alive.”

Photo of Chef Massimo with his grandmother and grandfather and daughter.


In modern times, thanks to social media, Pizza Rossa has gained renewed popularity. Many pizza makers showcase this traditional dish, and it is favored by pizza aficionados who appreciate its simplicity. The absence of mozzarella allows the quality of the dough to truly shine, making it a pure expression of culinary craftsmanship.

Overhead image of a Marinara Pizzette Pizza

Massimo’s Pizzette

Pizza Rossa (Marinara) Recipe 

Pizza Dough Ingredients: 

  • 1 tsp Yeast 
  • 4 cups Bread Flour 
  • ¼ cup Rye Flour 
  • ½ Tbsp Malt Powder 
  • 2 ½ cups warm water (100°F – 110°F)  
  • 1 Tbsp Fine Sea Salt 
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil 

Rossa Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 quart pomodoro sauce 
  • ½ cup Calabrian Chili Peppers 

Rossa Sauce Method: 

  1. Add the the pomodoro sauce and calabrian chili peppers to a blender
  2. Blend on medium for 2 minutes until the sauce is well combined 
  3. Set aside

Pizza Method: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees fahrenheit
  2. Using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, combine the Yeast, Bread Flour, Rye, Flour and Malt Powder in the bowl. Stir on low to combine. 
  3. While running the stand mixer on medium power, gradually add the water until the dough starts to form. 
  4. Continue to knead the dough in the stand mixer for approximately 6 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. 
  5. Add the Olive Oil and salt and run the mixer for 30 more seconds. 
  6. Move the mixing bowl to a warm spot in your kitchen. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for at least 2, but no more than 4 hours 
  7. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and stretch it into an 8 inch round on a baking sheet or pizza peel  
  8. Top with approximately ¼ cup of the rossa sauce and spread evenly. 
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 3 to 5 minutes until crispy edges form. 
  10. Remove from oven and and enjoy! 

More About Chef Massimo

Chef Massimo Vicidomini developed his culinary passion early, beginning at a local pizzeria in Italy and honing his skills at various restaurants along the Amalfi coast. After furthering his career in London, he returned to Italy, contributing to Michelin-starred L’Olivo in Capri among others. His journey eventually brought him to Washington D.C.’s Café Milano and later opened RPM Italian DC, where he rose to executive chef, bringing to life his traditional Italian heritage and modern approach at RPM Italian everyday. 

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