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What’s In That? Smoked Beet Corzetti

Red Boat brand fish sauce, which is as close to the Roman condiment garum as Sternberg can find, gives a meaty depth to a sauce enriched with butter and white wine. To give the dish a smoky edge and a look reminiscent of pasta carbonara (the dish invented for Italian charcoal workers, from which Sternberg took his inspiration), the chef burns beet skins to create an ash, then smokes the beets over low heat until he can slice them to reveal dark- and light-red rings. Sternberg ordered a special stamp to press out the coin-sized rounds of this hand-rolled pasta that was traditionally a sign of wealth. The dough for the pasta combines imported “00” wheat flour with plenty of egg yolks, white wine, and the juice of golden beets, all of which produces a sumptuous texture and sunny hue. Cream cheese, buttermilk, and slightly softer French feta are blended into a silky mousse before being drizzled over the pasta. Hand-torn basil offers an aromatic finish for this opulent dish.

A graduate of IU’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing, Terry Kirts hails from a town in Illinois so small it didn’t have a restaurant until he was in the 8th grade. Since 2000, he’s more than made up for the dearth of eateries in his childhood, logging hundreds of meals as the dining critic for WHERE Indianapolis, Indianapolis Woman, and NUVO before joining Indianapolis Monthly as a contributing editor in 2007. A senior lecturer in creative writing at IUPUI, Terry has published his poetry and creative nonfiction in a number of literary journals and anthologies, including Gastronomica, Alimentum, and Home Again: Essays and Memoirs from Indiana, and he’s the author of the poetry collection To the Refrigerator Gods, published by Seven Kitchens Press in 2011.