Dinner and a Playlist: Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta and Sumptuous Soul-Jazz

Louis Armstrong enjoying a piping hot plate of spaghetti. (Photo: Paul Slade)

We get it. For a jazz fan, there’s almost nothing better than heading out to a jazz club for an evening of fine food, good times and great jazz. But what if we told you we could bring the jazz club to you?

Here, we present our first ever “Dinner and a Playlist” feature, which pairs a delectable, easy-to-make recipe from professional chef (and amateur jazz fan) Carlos Loza with a playlist curated by JAZZIZ editors. The idea: gather up the ingredients, fire up the stove, open the playlist on the platform of your choice, and enjoy a wonderful evening of cooking, listening, and fine dining. We’ve got music to keep you company from the first chop to the final bite.

And we’re starting off strong. Rich and tangy, Loza’s Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta with Arugula is the perfect dish to prepare as you soak in the sounds of our Sumptuous Soul-Jazz playlist, which features masters of the genre like Jimmy Smith, Lee Morgan, Wes Montgomery, Herbie Hancock and many more. If you ask us, jazz never tasted better.

The Recipe

Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta with Arugula

For the pasta: 
16 oz. penne pasta
1 bay leaf
4 Tb.  vegetable oil
1 tsp. salt
Dash black pepper
Hot water to boil

Step 1:
Put water, oil, salt, pepper, and bay leaf in a large pot and bring to a boil.  The oil will help prevent the pasta from sticking to itself.  Add pasta and stir immediately to avoid clumping. Cook until al dente.  Drain and set aside.

For the chicken:
6 chicken breasts or thighs, bone in
1 Tb. garlic powder
2 Tb. onion powder
1 lemon, squeezed
3 Tb. vegetable oil
1 Tb. rosemary (dried or fresh)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 black pepper

Step 1:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix the oil, garlic and onion powder, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and rosemary until it becomes a well-mixed paste.  This will ensure the flavors are evenly mixed.  Add chicken and toss until covered evenly by the oil mixture.

Step 2:
Preheat dry sauté pan on medium-high flame for 30 seconds.  Place the pieces of chicken into the pan and sear the chicken until nicely browned.  Flip the chicken and cook the other side until seared golden.  Transfer the chicken in a sheet pan (lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil) and place in preheated oven for 15-20 min, until cooked through.

For the lemon cream sauce:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
3 Tb. olive oil
1/2 cup white cooking wine
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups heavy cream
1 lemon, zested
1 tsp. corn starch mixed in 4 tsp. cold water
Half a bag of baby arugula

Salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: In a pot large enough to hold all of the pasta, sauté shallots and garlic with olive oil over low heat (olive oil burns very easily).  Add white wine and reduce until the alcohol has cooked off.

Step 2: Add stock, cream, and corn starch mixture and bring to a boil.  Add lemon zest and the pasta and toss until coated evenly.  Then add the arugula and toss pasta.  Serve with chicken over the top of pasta.

Carlos Loza is a pastry chef living in the Chicago suburbs. A graduate of The French Pastry school, he previously worked as a sous chef at New York’s Café Cluny and as a pastry cook for Chicago’s Vanille Pâtisserie. He’s currently the head pastry chef at My Chef Catering in Naperville, Illinois.


The Playlist

Listen on: qobuz

The “In” Crowd – Live At Bohemian Caverns, D.C./1965
Ramsey Lewis Trio
The In Crowd

Back At The Chicken Shack
Jimmy Smith
Back At The Chicken Shack

Road Song
Wes Montgomery
Road Song

The Sidewinder
Lee Morgan
The Best Of Lee Morgan

Pat Martino
El Hombre

Cantaloupe Island 
Herbie Hancock
Empyrean Isles

Five Spot After Dark
Curtis Fuller Quintet

Song For My Father
Horace Silver
The Best Of Horace Silver

Alligator Bogaloo
Lou Donaldson
Alligator Bogaloo

K Twist
Kenny Burrell
Midnight Blue 

Dig Dis
Hank Mobley
Soul Station

Stanley Turrentine

One For Daddy-O – Remastered
Cannonball Adderley
Somethin’ Else 

Dr. Lonnie Smith

Blue Mitchell
Boss Horn

Sookie Sookie
Grant Green, Ray Blair

Soul Sister 
Dexter Gordon
Dexter Calling

One Mint Julep
Freddie Hubbard
Open Sesame 

Art Blakey

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