Introducing, Olivia Muniak! She is a NY bred, LA based chef and queen of Lazy-Fancy entertaining. If you're one of her devoted followers on IG, you're familiar with her effortless hosting style and approachable, yet sophisticated recipes. Olivia also produces incredible events for companies such as Goop, Loro Piana, WSJ, and more. If that wasn't enough to keep her busy, she has also launched her own collection of very chic ceramics like those shown in these photos! Michèle first discovered Olivia through her Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake recipe and has been a fan ever since!
We were thrilled when Olivia offered to make one of her signature 'Lazy-Fancy' recipes to pair with our Old Vine Carignan and boy did she deliver! Presenting the Kale and Mushroom Crostata - a perfect dish to have on hand for this entertaining season.
"Lorenza Carignan is an amazing old world grape, it has notes of cherry, pomegranate and is very herbaceous so it’s perfect pairing with earthy vegetables like the kale, mushrooms and the creaminess of the bechamel. This savory crostata embodies my lazy-fancy approach to hosting and cooking why bother with a tart tin when you can just fold all the ingredients into a perfect, crumbly crust." - Olivia
LR: Where do you cook?
OM: Besides my house, we have a commissary kitchen in downtown LA that we use to service our events.
LR: What motivates you to cook?
OM: The moment I actually cherish most is when the food is done. Everyone is lingering at the table, getting lost in conversation – in Spain, they call it this ‘sobremesa’ – and this is at the core of every aspect of my business. It’s the people, the conversation and the time together, the food is just the reason to gather.
LR: Describe your cooking style?
OM: Lazy - Fancy… it’s all about not complicating dishes and setting a relaxed yet elegant vibe at home. I am inspired by traditional Italian dishes and techniques for the simplicity of them and California has some of the best produce in the world so I take my cues for the season from what’s freshest at the farmers market.
LR: What do you listen to?
OM: Here’s my Lazy - Fancy Aperitivo playlist.
LR: 5 ingredients always found in your kitchen:
OM: Parmigiano Reggiano, Anchovies, Castelvetrano Olives, Lemons, and leafy greens. I can whip a great dish simply with those five ingredients – a pasta or salad, or a great side or sauce to protein.
LR: Most underrated kitchen tool:
OM: A sharp knife! Almost every client or friends house that I’ve cooked in has extremely dull knives which makes cooking so unpleasant, and I understand why they think cooking might be hard.
LR: Who do you admire? Do you have a mentor?
OM: There are two women that I consider friends that have helped shaped my path. Julia Fitzroy hired me for Moet Hennessy. Her grace and poise in stressful situations always struck me; I recognized we accomplish so much more by remaining calm and kind, especially in this industry. Chloe Brakha and I were put together to co-produce a La Grande Dame champagne event. She had almost two decades of experience working with event design agencies. She shared so much insight and ways of working that were pivotal for me.
LR: Where is your dream kitchen?
OM: A villa in Spain or Italy, in the countryside or by the beach, since it’s a dream kitchen we’re in both places. We definitely have horses on the property. The kitchen is grand but not fancy, and is old world. There’s plenty of space for friends to gather in the kitchen while I’m cooking, because no matter what everyone always ends up in the kitchen. The kitchen opens up to a lush and verdant outdoor area with long wooden tables to host lots of friends. In the winter there is a formal dining room, that is separate from the kitchen - I always like a space separate for the dining room so you can hide any mess of the cooking and enjoy your guests even longer.
LR: What do you want to make next?
OM: I love making fresh pasta and with fall here I’m craving a Butternut Squash Agnolotti with a brown butter sage sauce.
LR: Three words to describe Lorenza
OM: Feminine, full of life, fun!
Kale & Mushroom Crostata
FOR THE DOUGH
1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, frozen and cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1⁄4 cup ice water
1 large egg, beaten, for egg wash
FOR THE FILLING
1 bunch lacinato kale
2 cups mixed mushrooms: cremini, hen of the woods
1 large garlic clove, diced
1 small shallot, diced
1 c besciamella (Italian bechamel)
FOR THE BESCIAMELLA
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 ¼ c whole milk, warmed
⅓ c grated Pecorino cheese
Pinch of ground nutmeg, sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 350º
MAKE THE DOUGH
Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is in pea-size pieces. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and ice water. Slowly pour the vinegar water into the food processor, pulsing to combine. Pulse just until the dough begins to hold together. Transfer it to a clean work surface and pat together. Shape the dough into a round. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
MAKE THE BESCIAMELLA
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and then whisk in the flour. Gradually add the milk and whisk until a thick sauce forms. Periodically stopping to whisk until the mixture smooths. Then add the salt, pepper, nutmeg and pecorino cheese. Keep on a low heat and set off the side.
MAKE THE FILLING
In a large saute pan, brown the mushrooms in oil with salt and pepper. You may need to work in batches, once complete set aside. In the same pan, sweat the shallots and garlic with a pinch of salt, be careful not to brown or burn. Then add the kale and saute until the kale cooks down.
MAKE THE CROSTATA
Roll the pastry dough out onto a parchment paper to ¼ inch thickness, using flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Spoon the kale and mushrooms onto the center of the dough and spread out leaving about a 2 inch border to fold the edges over the filling. Pour the besciamella over the kale and mushroom mixture. Then fold the edges of the dough over to create the crostata. Whisk one egg and brush the edges of the crostata with the egg wash. Grate some more pecorino cheese over the entire crostata and bake for 30-40 minutes until the edges are golden brown.
Serve warm and with a glass of chilled Lorenza Carignan.