Picture this: you've got your feet up, your hair is blowing in the summer breeze, and you're scarfing down a huge bowl of authentic Italian pasta while being serenaded by a beautiful Italian. Are you imagining yourself at a small trattoria somewhere off-the-beaten-path in Rome? Or in a charming villa in the Sicilian countryside where you're getting a home-cooked meal?

What if I told you you could have these same sensations in the comforts of your own apartment or dorm? It's true—just crack open some windows, put on your Lizzie McGuire Movie soundtrack, and follow along to these simple, authentic Italian pasta recipes.

After some extensive research, I found the best recipes available, tried and approved by hundreds of amateur chefs, and compiled them here for your convenience. You don't have to go to Italy to get amazing Italian pasta. In fact, you don't even have to go past your kitchen. Here are six incredibly easy and cheap Italian pasta recipes.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Pasta alla carbonara

gaku. on Flickr

Spaghetti alla Carbonara was developed in Rome in the mid-20th century. The ingredients are simple: eggs, cheese, and bacon or pancetta. The egg is what makes this dish so deliciously creamy. It gives the sauce a custard-like consistency as it gets folding into the hot pasta. The best part about Spaghetti alla Carbonara is that it takes barely any time to make, and you probably have the ingredients in your pantry and fridge already.

Try this easy carbonara recipe, or this vegetarian version with peas.

#SpoonTip: Don't strain all of the water out of your pasta. Leave a little bit to mix into your sauce. The extra starchiness will thicken it up and allow the sauce to cling to the pasta.

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

Image from WikiCommons

Image from WikiCommons

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca translates literally to "spaghetti in the style of a whore." Yes, you read that right. The story goes that this pasta got it's name from being a quick and easy meal for prostitutes to make in between customers. It was too long ago to say for sure, but nonetheless, today this pasta is universally enjoyed.

All of the ingredients for this dish can easily be found at your local grocery store—canned tomatoes, olives, capers, garlic, and anchovies. Anchovies are a highly debated food, but they don't deserve the bad wrap when it comes to this dish. That being said, if you really have a problem with this ingredient, just omit them and your pasta will still taste amazing.

New York Times' Mark Bittman has a tasty Spaghetti alla Puttanesca recipe that you can make in just half an hour.

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

spaghetti, vegetable, meat, pasta, sauce
Katie Elliott

Bolognese sauce got its name from its home town of Bologna, Italy. It consists of slow cooked meat and vegetables stewed together in a rich tomato sauce. It's typically served with tagliatelle, but can also be served with pappardelle or tube-shaped pastas. But don't you dare use spaghetti—according to many Italians, it's a culinary crime.

#SpoonTip: As a general rule, use wider pastas and tube pastas with richer, meatier sauces, and thinner pastas (like spaghetti) with lighter and creamier sauces. 

Make a great version of this dish from Food and Wine, or get a visual lesson from Spoon.

Pasta alla Norma

penne alla norma

franzconde on Flickr

Pasta alla Norma is like eggplant Parmesan in pasta form. Could it get any better than that? This dish consists of fried or sautéed eggplant, tomato sauce, ricotta salata or mozzarella cheese, and basil. It's a classic Sicilian recipe that's iconic to the region—definitely a crowd pleaser.

Here's Mark Bittman's popular pasta alla Norma recipe from The New York Times.

Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe

naotakem on Flickr

The name of this pasta describes the ingredients it's composed of: cacio means cheese and pepe means pepper. You're probably thinking, that's it? But don't be fooled. These simple ingredients are prepared in a way that creates one of the classiest and most effortless pasta dishes out there. 

Try this four-ingredient cacio e pepe recipe, to switch out your Easy Mac addiction for something a bit more sophisticated. 

Penne al Arrabbiata

carb, pasta, penne, sauce, vegetable, spaghetti
Caroline Ingalls

It may look like regular pasta with tomato sauce, but watch out, 'cause this penne's feisty. Arrabbiata literally translates to angry in Italian, and it makes sense, as the red pepper gives this pasta a delicious kick.

This dish, which is traditionally made with penne rigati (read: the grooved kind so that the sauce can get up in there), is so simple that the sauce really only needs four ingredients: tomatoes, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and garlic. Feel free to make it as spicy as you'd like and definitely don't be afraid to go heavy on that garlic, which is how it's traditionally made.

The New York Times shared this recipe for Mario Batali's "late-night favorite" pasta.

So get out there, be fancy, and save energy and expenses at the same time. If this article has taught you anything, let it be that you don't have to be a talented chef to treat yourself to some good, authentic Italian pasta.