22 Different Types of Pasta Sauce You Should Try

Different Types of Pasta Sauce
Photo by congerdesign

When you’re tired of the same old pasta dish, it’s tempting to go out and buy something pre-made from the store.

That’s not bad if you have the money, but if you want to save some cash and create your fantastic pasta at home, try one of these seven sauce recipes instead!

 From lighter sauces to rich sauces to classic Italian sauces, there’s something here for every taste and preference. No more boring pasta nights!

What Is Pasta Sauce?

Any sauce you choose can make or break your pasta dinner. Too thick, and you’ll feel full in a few bites; too thin, you’ll be drinking a plate of liquid in no time.

To avoid these culinary catastrophes, it helps to understand what makes each sauce unique and how they all differ from one another.

This article shows an easy-to-follow guide that explains how each one works best and how much is needed for optimal flavor.

Ensure you follow these step-by-step directions on properly preparing them all. From marinara sauce (one of our favorites) to Alfredo sauce, we’ve got every Italian pasta dinner covered here at The Motley Fool!

Different Types of Pasta Sauce

Alfredo Sauce

Rich and creamy, alfredo sauce gets its rich flavor from a mix of butter, garlic, and cheese. Substitute another favorite cheese in place, and pair it with a hearty protein to stand up to that rich flavor. Think chicken or fish for a healthy meal for these different types of pasta sauce.

Funghi E Piselli Pasta Sauce

Most people have never heard of Funghi e Piselli pasta sauce, but that’s because it’s been hiding in Italy since 1984. Funghi e Piselli is one of the different types of pasta sauce made with fresh mushrooms and peas, blended with oil and garlic, and seasoned with herbs. 

There are no preservatives or artificial flavors in Funghi e Piselli, so all you get is natural goodness. Try Funghi e, Piselli on your next pasta night, and you’ll never go back to bland tomato-based sauces again!

Penne Sauce

Penne with chicken and mushrooms or sausage makes for a quick, easy and healthy meal. Penne is a great choice of different types of pasta when you need something with some substance.

Choose lean meat like chicken breast, lean ground turkey, or lean Italian sausage; add some veggies like spinach and asparagus, add some protein-packed beans, and make sure your sauce has lots of protein-rich peas, edamame, or soybeans. Top with Parmesan cheese before serving.

Amatriciana Pasta Sauce

This traditional Italian-American tomato sauce gets a punch of flavor from guanciale or cured pork cheek. It’s simple of different types of Pasta sauce but flavorful, with just a touch of heat, and tastes fantastic over pasta. Try it with pappardelle for a hearty dish perfect for brunch or lunch and dinner.

Salsa di Noci Pasta Sauce

What’s not to love about pasta and pesto? This creamy vegan recipe combines traditional pesto with sun-dried tomatoes, almonds, garlic, and nutritional yeast. The result is a thick, aromatic sauce that is just as good for your body as your tastebuds.

While we tend to go for spaghetti when we’re craving carbs (there’s something so satisfying about slurping up that noodle, after all), different types of Pasta sauce would work well with Salsa di Noci Pasta Sauce too.

Pair it with linguine or fettuccine and fresh veggies on a summer night. Or try it as a sauce over penne in winter months when tomatoes are exceptionally flavorful.

Pesto Pasta Sauce

There are several ways to make pesto sauce, but you can go with store-bought for starters. Most different types of Pasta sauce are on the salty side, so try making your own at home if you want more flavor in your dish and less salt.

According to The Kitchn, you’ll only need six ingredients (basil leaves, pine nuts or walnuts, garlic cloves, grated Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and salt) plus an optional handful of spinach.

 Just place all ingredients except cheese into a food processor and blend until the mixture is smooth. Add cheese slowly until it forms a uniform paste that sticks together when pressed between your fingers.

Bean Bolognaise

It may sound crazy, but bean bolognaise is a perfect way to add healthy ingredients to an otherwise unhealthy meal when considering different types of pasta sauce. It is rich with protein and fiber; these beans will keep you feeling full while satisfying your taste buds.

 This recipe calls for butter beans or limas as they can stand up against all of those herbs and spices. The addition of nutritional yeast gives it that bolognaise flavor, so we recommend buying some extra and sprinkling it on everything! You’ll never look at those boring ol’ pasta nights in quite the same way again!

Bolognese Pasta Sauce

This thick, hearty sauce is full of Italian seasonings and ground beef (or pork). It’s traditionally simmered for hours but can be made quickly by a slow cooker.

This recipe calls for ground turkey or chicken in place of beef; you can customize these different types of Pasta sauce based on your preference and pantry items.

For example, skip or swap out some ingredients if you don’t have them on hand; freeze portions for later use. When cooking your meat, feel free to add additional veggies like green beans, bell peppers, or mushrooms; they’ll add flavor and make it heartier. While traditional bolognese is served over pappardelle pasta, linguine would also work.

Roasted Tomato Pasta Sauce

This summertime favorite is one of our favorite quick and easy different types of pasta sauce. Just throw a few tomatoes and garlic cloves on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and roast until soft. Purée with basil or oregano (or both), or stir in fresh chopped herbs right before serving. 

The longer you roast, the deeper your sauce will be; use that time for other prep work like making meatballs or blanching broccoli rabe for topping.

Serve over homemade pasta from scratch (see below), or any variety store-bought dried. For extra flavor, toss in sautéed mushrooms during cooking.

Pomodoro Pasta Sauce

Who says tomato sauce is just for spaghetti? You can easily make this red sauce with any pasta shape, and its sweet and tangy flavor goes well with sausage, peppers, and mushrooms.

Get a big batch of it ready for those days when you want to make dinner after work. And don’t worry about leftovers; if you don’t use them within five days, freeze them for a quick meal later.

Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce is what you think of when you think of different types of pasta sauce. It’s a traditional, simple red sauce made with ripe tomatoes, olive oil, and garlic. Try roasting your tomatoes for an even richer flavor. 

Add in fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese for a fresh twist on tradition. Yum! Here’s a great recipe for roasted tomato pasta.

The best thing about homemade tomato sauce? You can add your favorite spices, such as red pepper flakes or rosemary. And don’t forget about balsamic vinegar—it’s a fantastic way to dress up plain old tomato sauce!

Frutti di mare Pasta Sauce

This is delicious and fresh-tasting of any different types of Pasta sauce that utilizes seafood and vegetables. It’s filled with flavor, and you get a nice boost of nutrients from your veggies.

This dish also uses spaghetti squash as a base instead of pasta, which may be helpful for those trying to avoid gluten or simply looking for some new ways to spice up their meals. If you have picky eaters at home, they will likely love this recipe! So don’t keep it under wraps—share it with them!

Bechamel Pasta Sauce

Bechamel is a basic white sauce used for many other spices. It’s named after Marie-Antoine Carême, often called the father of French cuisine (among his many other titles).

The most common bechamel of different types of Pasta sauce contains butter, flour, milk, and seasonings; I like to add bacon or pancetta for extra flavor and color.

You can make it with cream instead of milk if you want it richer—know that it will be harder to thicken correctly. This recipe calls for parmesan cheese but feels free to experiment with your favorites.

Creamy Garlic Sauce

Sometimes, a simple sauce is all you need. These different types of Pasta sauce can be added to noodles and tossed with fresh veggies or used as a dipping sauce for breadsticks. Make it in bulk and keep it in your fridge for one week.

Warm-up when ready to serve! If you’re looking for an easy way to make dinner quick, whip up some pasta and vegetables and heat your creamy garlic sauce.

You’ll have dinner on your table in no time! And don’t forget about leftovers—this versatile recipe works just as well with leftover pasta from last night’s dinner or another night. Prepared spaghetti or macaroni is best, but feel free to use any noodle you like best!

Truffle Cream Pasta Sauce

They are made with mushrooms, sauteed shallots, and white wine—an earthy cream sauce that pairs nicely with fettuccine. Serving 6-8 people can be considered a great treat when looking for different types of pasta sauce. 

Spicy Italian Sausage Sauce: A classic Italian tomato sauce infused with spicy Italian sausage and served over spaghetti, fettuccine, or penne pasta. Makes 8 cups of sauce.

Mushroom Cream Sauce: Classic cream sauce made vegan friendly using a soy creamer base and sauteed mushrooms instead of butter or milk for a rich and creamy result that will please any vegan.

Buttery White Sauce

These other different types of pasta sauce are a great place to start for those with little experience making sauces at home. The white sauce consists of butter, flour, milk, and salt, and it’s creamy and mild, making it a versatile base for many flavor profiles.

Add roasted vegetables like mushrooms or peppers, sautéed onions, or minced garlic before simmering it with your pasta, and you have an easy dish that can even work as a main course. If you want something lighter than cream or milk, try using half-and-half instead.

Umbrian Ragu Pasta Sauce

In Umbria, Italy, ragu is serious business. Unlike a simple tomato sauce, it’s slow-cooked meat simmered in seasonings and wine or broth until it becomes tender and utterly fall-apart delicious.

Since different types of pasta sauce are often reserved for special occasions, make your next meal a celebration with an Umbrian ragu.

You’ll need 1⁄4 pound of pancetta or guanciale (both can be found at many well-stocked supermarkets or gourmet grocers), 1⁄2 cup of red wine, one teaspoon of dried thyme oregano, and four cloves of crushed garlic.

Spinach or Other Green Sauce

You’ll Need • 1 large clove of garlic, minced • 1⁄4 cup packed fresh basil leaves • 1⁄2 cup chicken broth • 2 tablespoons olive oil • 2 cups (packed) fresh spinach or other leafy green.

You’ll Get A fresh pasta sauce that makes an excellent base for all kinds of flavors—garlic and herbs one night, tomato and sausage another.

In a food processor, combine garlic, basil, and chicken broth. Add spinach by handfuls; process until smooth. Cooked pasta tossed with sauce is excellent for serving different types of Pasta sauce hot; cold pasta salad is delicious dressed with extra veggies.

Vodka Sauce

Vodka sauce is one of my favorites of the different types of pasta sauce—you can make it in less than half an hour, and it’s simple enough that you won’t need to bust out your fancy cheese grater.

There are a couple of options for adding tomatoes into your vodka sauce, but I prefer not to include them; they tend to water down an otherwise tasty dish.

Vodka sauce doesn’t have any traditional herbs, just garlic, onion, and butter (you can use olive oil). Serve vodka sauce over fresh pappardelle pasta or any long flat noodle.

Add prosciutto on top for added meatiness and flavor. Try adding crushed red pepper flakes or whole basil leaves for color contrast if you feel like turning up the heat slightly.

Mushroom Sauce

Try using mushrooms when thinking of different types of Pasta sauce as a base for your sauce for a little flavor boost.

Just throw in some of your favorite fresh or dried mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, portobello, etc.) and a couple of teaspoons of butter or olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Saute until softened, then add canned tomatoes or tomato paste and garlic. Simmer until slightly thickened. Add steamed veggies or lean protein and top with fresh herbs like basil or parsley if you have them on hand.

White Clam Sauce

This classic Italian sauce is easily made at home, though you’ll need to visit your local fishmonger for clams.

These different types of Pasta sauce have a fresh flavor and robust taste, ideal for seafood and pasta. Add it to your favorite spaghetti, linguine, or fettuccine recipe.

Start with essential ingredients for these different types of pasta sauce—olive oil, garlic, white wine, and a few herbs—then add lemon juice and a little cream.

Once you’ve got those flavors balanced just right, throw in some chopped clams so they have time to soak up all that deliciousness before adding your cooked pasta. When you sit down for dinner, your dish will already be perfect.

Marinara Sauce

Although it has a simple list of ingredients—tomato puree, olive oil, onions, garlic, and basil—Marinara Sauce doesn’t skimp on taste.

Typically served with long pasta like spaghetti or fettuccine, Marinara of different types of Pasta sauce is also delicious spooned over bread or polenta for dipping.

The recipe below makes enough for about 2 pounds of pasta; leftovers can be frozen and thawed later. Add some crushed red pepper flakes when cooking your onions and garlic for an extra kick of flavor!

Garlic Sauce

Great with noodles but fantastic with eggplant when you use these different types of pasta sauce. Use about a teaspoon of minced garlic for every cup of sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Substitute lemon juice for some or all of your vinegar and add 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese if you want a heartier meal. Serve over pasta or alongside meatballs or grilled chicken breast.

This sauce is made a day in advance and refrigerated until you’re ready to use it; bring it back to room temperature before sitting on your counter for at least 30 minutes before serving.

It also freezes well, so feel free to make several batches at once and store them in freezer-safe containers until you need them later on down the road.


Sure, pasta can be a simple and quick dinner option, but if you’re eating it every night, it’s time to mix things up. The main point here is that there are plenty of sauces that aren’t just Marinara—the sky is your limit! 

There are many options for different types of Pasta sauce for spicing up your pasta meals, from creamy pesto sauce to colorful sun-dried tomato sauce and even zesty, spicy chili spaghetti sauce.

So next time you make pasta for dinner, try one of these new sauces, and you might discover a new favorite!

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