Serious Eats: Talk

30 minute menu that does NOT taste like Rachel Ray

I have to cook dinner for someone I'd like to impress after a round of tennis today. We will be starving and considering I ragged on their 'cooking' last time (steaming veggies in the microwave, heating a can of tomato sauce and some pasta), I have to save face and not do that.

It should take under 30 minutes and require less than 10 ingredients -- the cooking location in question has a few pots and pans but virtually no other cooking "stuff". There's no dietary or cost restrictions, although I'd like to avoid doing the "one can of this, one can of that" thing.

I have a trader joe's, whole foods and normal grocery at my disposal, so basically anything is fair game. I'm not sure about how adventurous my co-diner is -- they have lived in LA, ATL, Cambridge/London and finally STL as well as summered on Cape Cod, but I've never seen any indication of culinary adventure-ness.

Right now I'm thinking the babbo bucatini all'amatriciana, but I've never cooked bacon before (not a lie) so I'm a little nervous about burning it.

suggestions? thoughts? I have no idea what I will be cooking for a vegetable; probably a salad since the pasta looks quite heavy.

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