Sauces are powerful. A delicious sauce can rescue a subpar meal, and a lackluster sauce can ruin a great one. If you have the magic of the sauce on your side, anything becomes possible. You can transform plain pasta into an unforgettable meal, create a dessert masterpiece out of vanilla ice cream, and make a regular hunk of meat something incredibly special. With these 10 recipes for our favorite (and most essential) sauces, you too can be in on the secrets of great food.

Follow Food52 on Twitter @food52

RELATED: The 10 Red-Sauce Commandments

RELATED: This Homemade Sriracha Recipe Will Change Your Life