Pasta is one of those foods that you can put whatever you want on it, from a thick, cheesy alfredo with prosciutto and truffle to a classic hearty tomato sauce with chunks of veggies, and it will taste just as mind-bogglingly delicious. Pasta sauces are like personalities: every single one is different, yet every single one is amazing in a unique way.

Looking at an Italian restaurant menu can sometimes be daunting, as there seem to be too many options and your stomach just can't consume all of the equally delicious options before you, and your wallet, can't handle the dent that it would incur from such a hearty splurge. With each sauce corresponding to a different shape and flavor noodle, the options are seemingly endless. So, refer to this unofficial ranking if you ever need a helping hand with what to choose for your pasta sauce. You certainly won't be disappointed.

17. Puttanesca

The literal translation of this pasta sauce is less than savory, meaning "pasta in the style of a whore." Traditionally including olives, tomatoes, capers, anchovies, and garlic, this pasta sauce is a hodgepodge of ingredients that are not always first on people's list when they are choosing a pasta sauce.

16. Alfredo

pasta, macaroni, cream, spaghetti, tortellini, cheese
Elizabeth Dieterich

The mac n' cheese of Italian pasta, this pasta sauce is the laughing stock of every true Italian's kitchen because it is just butter, cheese, and cream—ingredients associated with the taste palettes of children—and is only tasty if you have the desire to stuff yourself. However, if you do want to make it for yourself as it is quite easy, look no further!

15. Amatriciana

spaghetti, sauce, pasta, tomato, basil, carbohydrate
Angelo Ong

A classic Amatriciana sauce includes Guanciale (pork cheeks), Pecorino (sheep milk cheese), and tomatoes. The only reason that it's ranked so low on this list is because Guanciale is extremely expensive and difficult to procure in the United States and there are so many other fabulous pasta sauces!

14. Aglio e Olio

Aglio e olio merely translates to garlic and oil—also known as the most basic pasta sauce. This sauce is great because it can be spiced up with other ingredients such as shrimp, a fried egg, green beans, and most commonly just some red pepper flakes. At heart, however, it is the base of all Italian pasta sauces, which is what makes it so great.

13. Primavera

chili, vegetable, pepper
Alexandra Tringali

Primavera means spring in Italian, and thus it is pasta that includes lots of spring vegetables. A typical primavera sauce is comprised of zucchini, asparagus, eggplant, tomatoes, peas, and garlic.

12. Le Vongole

This Italian staple pasta sauce, native to Naples, is fresh and clean and full of the pure, hearty flavors of Southern Italy. It translates to "with clams" and is often served with this spaghetti and this classic shellfish. It can be made in bianco, featuring oil, garlic, parsley, and some white wine, or in rosso, which includes tomatoes and fresh basil in addition to the previous ingredients.

11. Lasagne

parmesan, lasagna, pasta, sauce, cheese
Christy Luong

Lasagna to Americans and lasagne to Italians, this baked pasta dish is more of a vehicle for pasta sauces than a pasta sauce in itself. It can come in the classic meat and cheese layered version, various vegetable combinations such as spinach and ricotta, zucchini, or eggplant, vegan variations, and even many breakfast versions. Whatever lasagne you eat will be sure to wow your taste buds.

10. Pomodoro

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

Pomodoro means tomato sauce, and the classic Italian version is different than what most Americans think it is: a marinara sauce (they are not the same!). Pomodoro is a thick and smooth tomato sauce with a hint of garlic and lots of oregano. What could be better on your pasta?!

9. Arrabiata

Arrabiata translates to angry, and the Italians of Rome (from where this dish originates) are notoriously the most fired up of all natives, shaking their fists at the sky and cursing their pasta if it is not al dente enough—or in the case of Arrabiata, spicy enough to make the grandchildren leave old nonna alone!

8. Frutti di Mare

Frutti di mare is an Italian pasta dish served along the coasts, and the sauce typically includes, mussels, tomatoes, clams, jumbo shrimp, parsley, garlic, and red pepper flakes. With a base composed of either a tomato broth or olive oil, this pasta sauce is for anyone that wants a hearty meal of pasta with a taste of everything delicious that comes from the sea, so you don't have to choose between pasta or seafood at dinner—you can have both!

7. Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe means salt and pepper—even though this pasta sauce is a stout supporter of large amounts of pecorino romano cheese—and this simple combination is one of the best pasta sauces any pasta fiend could ask for: simple yet mindbogglingly tasty.

6. Ragu

Ragu is a typical Italian meat sauce that includes sausage and usually very minimal tomato with an olive oil base. While many believe it's not as satisfying as bolognese sauce, ragus are nonetheless a classic Italian staple and are irresistibly delicious because of their light texture and sweet, meaty goodness. The difference between bolognese and ragu: bolognese uses red wine in the sauce which makes it richer and ragus use white wine to make them lighter and better served in the summertime!

5. Pesto

I don't know what's more appetizing—nutty, cheesy basil pesto (or any of the other fabulous types such as mint, kale, edamameavocado, or even vegan), or this pasta twirl. Thoughts?

4. Carbonara

Carbonara has a primarily egg yolk and butter base with parmesan and pecorino romano cheeses and is topped off with prosciutto or guanciale. There are not many pasta sauces better than carbonara, and it's easy to see why when these ingredients are involved! 

3. Al Tartufo

My personal favorite and an Italian delicacy, making any pasta al Tartufo—or truffled as it translates to—is a recipe for a gourmet, five-star Italian pasta dish.

2. Bolognese

Who doesn't love a thick, hearty bowl of pasta topped with deliciously sweet and spicy bolognese sauce? A classic Italian favorite and beloved by all around the world, this sauce is a staple when it comes to all things pasta.

1. Alla Vodka

No need to choose between cream sauce and tomato sauce with this dish—you can have both! Alla vodka sauce is a universal pasta favorite. Light cream and smooth Pomodoro with a touch of vodka and heaps of parmesan and basil for garnish are all any pasta need to be a classic amongst all pasta fiends (including myself). 

The bottom line is that pasta is hard to rank. As one of the most delicious foods on the planet that is all about the sauce, there's really no way you can go wrong with any of these pasta sauces, whether you are dining out at a restaurant that has a menu with an overwhelming pasta selection, or eating in and making one of these delicious pasta sauces for yourself. As the Italians say: Mangia!