Nana Recipe Wednesday!—Twistees De Demenico and Balsamic Roasted Asparagus

by Sarah on April 28, 2010

Nana (bottom left), out for ladies’ night at Strizzi’s.  Let’s take a wild guess that this is sometime in the ’80’s.  What was it with the ’80’s and pasta?  What was it with that eye makeup?

I can’t answer the eye makeup question.  I was guilty of the blue eyeshadow, myself.  I actually can’t answer the pasta question either, and truthfully don’t care much….people just wanted their noodles.  Who doesn’t?  It was a pasta-crazed nation.  Let’s just go ahead and revel in some good creamy and cheesy pasta now.  This may well be the easiest pasta dish ever.

For Nana’s recipe, this is all you need.  1 lb rotini pasta–“twistees”, if you will–black pepper, cream, butter and good Parmesan cheese.

I dolled it up a bit because I had this stuff left over from the weekends’ festivities.  You can too, or you can leave it out.  This dish is good either way.

If you want the dolled up version, saute a chopped shallot and 1/4 each yellow and red bell pepper in small dice.  When they are just soft, toss in the diced proscuitto and stir about for 30 seconds.  Turn off heat and set aside.

Place the butter and cream in an oven-proof dish and set in the oven at 250*.

While the butter is melting, cook the pasta according to the package directions.  When the pasta is nearly done, pour the cream and butter mixture into a big pasta bowl or platter.

Using a spider or slotted spoon, scoop the pasta out of the pot and into the bowl.  At first glance, you are going to think that there’s too much liquid in the bowl.  Don’t fool yourself, it will get absorbed.

In goes the Parmesan.

Toss and top with freshly ground pepper.  That’s it!  Simple and delicious.

*this concludes the Nana portion of this recipe*

Remember that shallot, pepper and proscuitto mixture?  I’m going to dump it in now.

Toss it about.  Eat.

What?  You want a vegetable, too?  Ok.

Here’s some roasted asparagus with balsamic.

You know you want a bite of this.

Nana's Twistees De Demenico


  • 1 lb. fusilli pasta, "twistees"
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, grated
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • *1/4 each red and yellow bell pepper, diced (optional)
  • *1 shallot, finely chopped (optional)
  • *1/4 lb. proscuitto, diced (optional)


  • If using the optional ingredients, cook the peppers and shallots in a saute pan with a Tbsp of olive oil until softened. Add the proscuitto and cook for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  • In a 250* oven, heat the butter and cream on a platter or oven-proof dish. While the cream mixture heats, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Take the platter out of the oven and scoop the pasta out of the water and onto the platter or bowl. Toss thoroughly. Add cheese and toss. Top with freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  • *for dolled up version: Add the cooked peppers, shallots and proscuitto and toss through.
  • **You can also add peas or bacon or ham to this dish with similarly delicious results.

Balsamic Roasted Asparagus


  • ....................................................................................................
  • Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic
  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt, pepper


  • Preheat oven to 450*. Place asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Roll about so that all of the asparagus spears are coated.
  • Roast for 5-7 minutes, or until crisp-tender.

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