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Learn with Me: How to Cook Spaghetti Sauce Perfectly

how to cook spaghetti sauce
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Written by Lyndas

Hey there, fellow cooking enthusiasts! Today, I’m excited to share my secrets on how to cook spaghetti sauce perfectly. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a beginner in the kitchen, mastering the art of homemade spaghetti sauce is a game-changer. So, grab your apron, roll up your sleeves, and let’s dive in!

Creating your very own spaghetti sauce allows you to control the flavors, textures, and ingredients, resulting in a sauce that perfectly suits your taste buds. Plus, the aroma that fills your kitchen while it simmers is absolutely divine!

Throughout this article, I’ll walk you through a foolproof homemade spaghetti sauce recipe, share expert tips for perfecting your sauce, explore different variations and modifications, and even discuss using spaghetti sauce in other delicious recipes.

By the end of this journey, you’ll have all the knowledge and inspiration you need to whip up the best spaghetti sauce imaginable. So, are you ready to embark on this culinary adventure with me? Let’s get cooking!

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways:

  • Learning how to cook spaghetti sauce from scratch gives you full control over the flavors.
  • Homemade spaghetti sauce provides a delightful aroma while it simmers in your kitchen.
  • Expert tips can help you elevate your spaghetti sauce to the next level.
  • Experimenting with different variations and modifications adds personalization to your sauce.
  • Spaghetti sauce is a versatile ingredient that can be used in various other recipes.

The Perfect Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

If you’re looking for the best spaghetti sauce recipe to impress your family and friends, look no further. I’ve got a flavorful and easy homemade spaghetti sauce recipe that will leave everyone craving for more. This sauce is the perfect combination of rich flavors and aromatic spices, making it the ultimate sauce for your pasta dishes.

To start, gather the following ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef over medium heat. Add the diced onions and minced garlic, and cook until the onions are translucent. Drain any excess grease from the skillet. Next, add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, basil, oregano, sugar, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.

“This homemade spaghetti sauce is so delicious! It’s the perfect balance of flavors and makes my pasta dishes taste amazing.” – Mark, a satisfied reader.

Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. The longer you simmer, the more flavorful the sauce will be. Serve the sauce over your favorite pasta and enjoy!

Ingredients Quantity
Ground beef 1 pound
Onion, diced 1
Cloves of garlic, minced 4
Tomato sauce 1 can (28 ounces)
Tomato paste 1 can (6 ounces)
Diced tomatoes 1 can (14.5 ounces)
Dried basil 2 teaspoons
Dried oregano 2 teaspoons
Sugar 1 teaspoon
Salt and pepper To taste

This homemade spaghetti sauce recipe is a true winner. Its rich flavors and easy preparation will make it a go-to recipe for any pasta lover. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

The Difference Between Spaghetti Sauce, Marinara Sauce, and Pizza Sauce

When it comes to Italian cuisine, sauces play a vital role in enhancing the flavors of various dishes. Spaghetti sauce, marinara sauce, and pizza sauce are three popular sauces that are often used interchangeably, but they do have distinct characteristics that set them apart.

Spaghetti sauce is a rich and savory tomato-based sauce that is specifically made for pasta dishes. It typically contains various ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, garlic, herbs, and spices. Some recipes may also include meat, such as ground beef or sausage, to add an extra layer of flavor. The complexity of flavors in spaghetti sauce makes it a versatile choice for other Italian dishes as well.

Spaghetti sauce is a more complex version of marinara sauce, often made with additional spices, meat, vegetables, and cheese.

Marinara sauce, on the other hand, is a simpler tomato sauce that originates from Italy. It is made with just a few key ingredients like tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and a hint of herbs. Marinara sauce is light and fresh, allowing the natural flavors of the tomatoes to shine through. It is commonly used as a base sauce for pasta dishes or as a dipping sauce for appetizers like mozzarella sticks or garlic bread.

Pizza sauce is specifically designed for topping pizzas. It is typically made from cooked tomatoes, garlic, and a blend of herbs and spices to create a tangy and flavorful sauce. Pizza sauce is thicker than both spaghetti sauce and marinara sauce to ensure it doesn’t make the pizza crust soggy during baking. Its robust flavor profile complements the other toppings on the pizza and adds a burst of taste with every bite.

Understanding the differences between these three sauces allows you to select the most suitable option for your specific dish. Whether you’re simmering a pot of spaghetti, making a Margherita pizza, or dipping your favorite mozzarella sticks, choosing the right sauce can elevate your culinary experience.

Tips for Making Ahead and Freezing Spaghetti Sauce

Making spaghetti sauce from scratch can be a time-consuming process, so it’s always a great idea to make a larger batch and freeze the extra sauce for later use. By doing so, you’ll have a convenient and delicious homemade sauce ready whenever you need it. Here are some tips to help you make ahead and freeze spaghetti sauce:

1. Cool the Sauce Properly:

Once you have cooked the spaghetti sauce, allow it to cool completely before transferring it to storage containers. Rapid cooling is essential to prevent bacteria growth and maintain the quality of the sauce. Divide the sauce into smaller portions so that you can thaw only what you need for each meal.

2. Choose the Right Containers:

When freezing spaghetti sauce, it’s crucial to use containers that are suitable for freezing. Opt for airtight containers or freezer bags to prevent freezer burn and maintain the flavor of the sauce. Make sure to label each container with the date to keep track of the storage time.

3. Store in the Freezer:

Place the containers of spaghetti sauce in the freezer and ensure they are stored upright to prevent any leakage. It’s best to use the sauce within three to four months for the best flavor and quality. Before using the frozen sauce, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or reheat directly from frozen on the stovetop.

By following these tips, you can save time in the kitchen while still enjoying the flavors of homemade spaghetti sauce. Whether you’re making a family-sized batch or simply want to have some extra sauce on hand, freezing spaghetti sauce is a convenient way to prepare ahead and ensure you always have a tasty meal waiting for you.

Tips for Making Ahead and Freezing Spaghetti Sauce:
Cool the sauce properly before freezing to prevent bacteria growth and maintain quality.
Choose airtight containers or freezer bags for optimal storage and to prevent freezer burn.
Store the sauce in the freezer for up to three to four months, and thaw or reheat before using.

Side Dishes to Serve with Spaghetti Sauce

When it comes to serving spaghetti sauce, a delicious side dish can elevate the meal to a whole new level. Whether you’re looking for something light and refreshing or hearty and satisfying, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are some fantastic side dishes that pair perfectly with spaghetti sauce:

1. Garlic Breadsticks

No Italian meal is complete without a side of warm and buttery garlic breadsticks. These savory delights are perfect for dipping into your spaghetti sauce, soaking up all the flavorful goodness. The combination of crispy, golden bread and the rich tomato sauce is simply irresistible. You can easily make your own garlic breadsticks using store-bought dough or try out a homemade recipe for that extra special touch.

2. Caprese Salad

Light and refreshing, a classic Caprese salad is a wonderful accompaniment to spaghetti sauce. Made with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil, this salad provides a burst of flavors that complement the richness of the sauce. Drizzle some balsamic glaze or olive oil on top for an extra touch of elegance. It’s a perfect way to balance out the meal and add some vibrant colors to your plate.

3. Roasted Vegetables

For a healthy and satisfying side dish, roasted vegetables are a great option. Toss together a medley of colorful veggies like bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and cherry tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with herbs and spices, and roast until tender. The caramelized flavors of the vegetables pair beautifully with the savory sauce and create a well-rounded meal.

These are just a few ideas to get you started, but the possibilities are endless. Feel free to experiment and find your own favorite side dishes to serve with spaghetti sauce. Whether it’s a crisp salad, warm bread, or roasted vegetables, the right accompaniment can take your meal to the next level of deliciousness.

Expert Tips for Perfecting Your Spaghetti Sauce

When it comes to cooking the perfect spaghetti sauce, there are a few expert tips that can take your sauce from good to exceptional. These tips will help you enhance the flavor, texture, and overall quality of your sauce, making it a standout dish that will impress your family and friends.

1. Adjust the Seasoning:

A key element in perfecting your spaghetti sauce is to adjust the seasoning to suit your taste. Start with a basic combination of salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and then experiment by adding other herbs and spices such as oregano, basil, or red pepper flakes. Taste as you go and make adjustments until you achieve the desired flavor profile.

2. Add Fresh Herbs:

Fresh herbs can elevate the taste of your spaghetti sauce to new heights. Consider adding freshly chopped basil, parsley, or thyme towards the end of the cooking process to infuse the sauce with a burst of freshness. The vibrant flavors of these herbs will add complexity and depth to your sauce, making it more delicious and memorable.

3. Incorporate Additional Ingredients:

For a personal touch, you can experiment with adding additional ingredients to your spaghetti sauce. Consider including diced bell peppers, mushrooms, or olives for added flavor and texture. You can also add a splash of red wine or a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese to enhance the richness of the sauce. These additions can bring a unique twist to your sauce and make it truly your own.

Expert Tips for Perfecting Spaghetti Sauce
Adjust the Seasoning
Add Fresh Herbs
Incorporate Additional Ingredients

Making Spaghetti Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes

One of the most delicious ways to enjoy homemade spaghetti sauce is by using fresh tomatoes. The vibrant flavor and natural sweetness of fresh tomatoes can take your sauce to a whole new level. In this section, I will guide you through the process of making spaghetti sauce from scratch using fresh tomatoes.

To start, you’ll need ripe tomatoes. Look for tomatoes that are firm, juicy, and have a rich, deep color. Roma tomatoes are often preferred for making sauce, but you can use any variety that you enjoy. It’s best to use tomatoes that are in season, as they will have the best flavor.

First, prepare the tomatoes by washing them thoroughly and removing the stems. Then, bring a pot of water to a boil. Carefully place the tomatoes in the boiling water for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until you see the skin start to peel. Remove the tomatoes from the pot and immediately transfer them into a bowl of ice water. This will help to stop the cooking process and make it easier to peel the tomatoes.

spaghetti sauce with fresh tomatoes

Peeling and Pulsing the Tomatoes

Once the tomatoes have cooled down, you can easily peel off the skins using your fingers or a knife. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and remove the seeds if desired. Some people prefer to keep the seeds for added texture, while others prefer a smoother sauce. It’s up to you.

To pulse the tomatoes, you can use a food processor or blender. Simply add the tomatoes to the machine and pulse until you reach your desired consistency. If you prefer a chunky sauce, pulse just a few times. For a smoother sauce, pulse a bit longer. Be careful not to over-process the tomatoes, as you still want some texture in your sauce.

Adding Flavors and Simmering

With your fresh tomato puree ready, it’s time to add in the flavors. In a large pot, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add in minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Then, add in the tomato puree, along with some salt, black pepper, dried herbs like oregano and basil, and a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. You can also add in some chopped onions, carrots, and celery for extra flavor and depth.

Bring the sauce to a simmer and let it cook for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. Stir occasionally to prevent the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pot. The longer you simmer the sauce, the richer the flavors will become. Feel free to taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.

And there you have it – a delicious spaghetti sauce made with fresh tomatoes! Serve it over your favorite pasta, sprinkle with some grated Parmesan cheese, and enjoy a homemade meal that will impress your family and friends.

Meat Options for Spaghetti Sauce

If you’re a fan of hearty and flavorful spaghetti sauce, adding meat can take it to the next level. Meat not only provides a rich taste but also adds a satisfying texture to your sauce. Here are some meat options that you can consider when making your spaghetti sauce:

1. Ground Beef

Ground beef is a classic choice for spaghetti sauce. It adds a savory flavor and a meaty bite to your sauce. Brown the ground beef before adding it to the sauce to enhance its taste and ensure it’s cooked thoroughly.

2. Ground Turkey

For a healthier twist, you can use ground turkey instead of ground beef. It has a leaner profile but still contributes a delicious flavor to your spaghetti sauce. Like ground beef, brown the ground turkey before mixing it with the sauce.

3. Ground Chicken

Another lean and versatile option is ground chicken. It has a lighter taste compared to beef or turkey but still brings a wonderful depth of flavor to your sauce. Brown the ground chicken and let it simmer in the sauce to infuse its flavors into the dish.

4. Ground Italian Sausage

If you’re looking for a more robust and seasoned meat option, consider using ground Italian sausage. It adds a spicy and aromatic element to your spaghetti sauce, making it perfect for those who enjoy a bit of heat in their meals.

Remember to cook the meat thoroughly and drain any excess fat before adding it to your sauce. This will ensure that your sauce has a balanced and flavorful taste. Feel free to experiment with different meat options or even a combination of meats to create a spaghetti sauce that caters to your personal preferences.

Spaghetti Sauce Variations and Modifications

When it comes to making spaghetti sauce, the possibilities are endless. With a few simple variations and modifications, you can transform a basic sauce into a culinary masterpiece. Whether you prefer a classic marinara, a spicy arrabbiata, or a hearty meat sauce, experimenting with different flavors and ingredients can take your spaghetti sauce to the next level.

One way to add depth and complexity to your sauce is by incorporating additional vegetables. Finely chopped bell peppers, carrots, or mushrooms can enhance both the flavor and texture of the sauce. Sauté these veggies along with the onions and garlic for a rich and aromatic base.

Another option is to play around with spices and herbs to create a unique flavor profile. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for some heat, or sprinkle in some dried oregano and basil for a traditional Italian taste. Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different combinations to find your perfect blend.

If you’re looking to add a cheesy twist to your sauce, consider melting in some grated Parmesan or stirring in cubes of mozzarella. The cheese will melt into the sauce, creating a creamy and indulgent texture. Just be sure to taste as you go and adjust the seasonings accordingly.

Remember, spaghetti sauce is all about personal preference, so feel free to customize it to suit your taste buds. Whether it’s adding a touch of sweetness with a spoonful of sugar or tanginess with a splash of balsamic vinegar, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. The key is to have fun and enjoy the process of creating your own unique spaghetti sauce masterpiece.

Variations and Modifications: Quick Reference

Variation Ingredients Instructions
Arrabbiata Sauce Crushed red pepper flakes, garlic, tomato sauce, olive oil Sauté garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil, then add tomato sauce and simmer
Mushroom Marinara Onion, garlic, mushrooms, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning Sauté onion, garlic, and mushrooms, then add tomato sauce and Italian seasoning. Simmer until flavors meld together.
Meat Lover’s Sauce Ground beef, Italian sausage, onion, garlic, tomato sauce, dried herbs Brown the ground beef and Italian sausage with onion and garlic. Add tomato sauce and dried herbs. Simmer to develop flavors.
Cheesy Alfredo Sauce Heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, garlic, butter, black pepper In a saucepan, melt butter and sauté garlic. Add heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. Stir until cheese melts and sauce thickens. Season with black pepper.

Use this quick reference table to guide your experimentation with spaghetti sauce variations and modifications. Each variation has its own unique combination of ingredients and instructions to ensure a delicious outcome. Feel free to mix and match or even create your own variations based on your preferences.

Using Spaghetti Sauce in Other Recipes

Spaghetti sauce is not just limited to serving with pasta dishes. Its rich flavor and versatility make it a delicious addition to various recipes. Whether you’re looking for a creative way to use up leftovers or want to experiment with new flavors, incorporating spaghetti sauce can elevate your meals to the next level.

Spaghetti Pie

One popular dish that showcases the versatility of spaghetti sauce is spaghetti pie. This savory pie combines cooked spaghetti noodles, eggs, cheese, and, of course, spaghetti sauce. The mixture is baked to perfection, resulting in a mouthwatering, cheesy delight. Spaghetti pie is a great option for a quick and easy weeknight dinner or a crowd-pleasing party appetizer.

Spaghetti Pie

Slow Cooker Lasagna

If you love the flavors of lasagna but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen, try making a slow cooker lasagna using spaghetti sauce. Layer lasagna noodles, ricotta cheese, ground beef or sausage, and spaghetti sauce in your slow cooker, and let it simmer away for a few hours. The result is a deliciously cheesy and flavorful lasagna without all the hassle of traditional oven-baked versions.

Instant Pot Spaghetti

Another fantastic way to use spaghetti sauce is to make instant pot spaghetti. Simply add uncooked spaghetti noodles, ground meat, onions, garlic, and spaghetti sauce to your instant pot. Set it to cook for a few minutes, and you’ll have a hearty and flavorful pasta dish ready in no time. Instant pot spaghetti is perfect for busy weeknights when you need a quick and satisfying meal.

These are just a few examples of the many ways you can use spaghetti sauce to enhance your cooking. Whether you’re making spaghetti pie, slow cooker lasagna, or instant pot spaghetti, the addition of spaghetti sauce adds a burst of flavor and ensures a memorable meal every time.

Reheating and Storing Spaghetti Sauce

Now that you’ve mastered the art of cooking the perfect spaghetti sauce, it’s important to know how to reheat and store any leftovers. Proper reheating and storage techniques can help maintain the flavor and quality of your sauce, ensuring that it remains delicious for future meals.

Reheating Spaghetti Sauce

When reheating spaghetti sauce, it’s best to do so on the stovetop or in the microwave. Simply transfer the desired amount of sauce into a saucepan or microwave-safe container, and heat it gently over low to medium heat until it reaches your desired temperature. Stir the sauce occasionally to ensure even heating. Avoid overheating the sauce, as this can cause it to become too thick or develop a burnt taste.

Alternatively, you can reheat spaghetti sauce in the microwave by covering the container with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap. Heat the sauce in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until it is heated through.

Storing Spaghetti Sauce

If you have leftover spaghetti sauce that you’d like to save for later use, storing it properly is key. Allow the sauce to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Glass or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids are ideal for storing spaghetti sauce. Make sure to leave some headspace in the container to allow for expansion as the sauce freezes or refrigerates.

When storing the sauce in the refrigerator, it can last for up to 4 to 5 days. If you want to extend the storage time, freezing the spaghetti sauce is a great option. Frozen sauce can last for up to 3 to 4 months in the freezer. To freeze, divide the sauce into individual portions or larger batches based on your needs. Label the containers with the date and contents for easy reference.

Storage Method Refrigerator Freezer
Temperature Range Below 40°F (4°C) 0°F (-18°C) or below
Storage Duration 4 to 5 days 3 to 4 months
Container Type Airtight glass or plastic container Freezer-safe containers or resealable plastic bags
Recommended Thawing Method Transfer to refrigerator and thaw overnight Transfer to refrigerator and thaw overnight or defrost in microwave

When it’s time to use the stored spaghetti sauce, thaw frozen sauce by transferring it to the refrigerator and allowing it to thaw overnight. If you’re in a hurry, you can also defrost the sauce in the microwave using the defrost setting or low power setting. Be sure to stir the sauce occasionally to ensure even thawing.

With these tips for reheating and storing spaghetti sauce, you can enjoy the delicious flavors of your homemade sauce time and time again. Whether you’re cooking for a crowd or simply want to have some leftovers for later, knowing how to properly handle and store your sauce will ensure that it remains just as tasty as the day you made it.


After learning about the art of cooking spaghetti sauce, I hope you feel inspired to try your hand at making your own homemade version. Remember, mastering the perfect spaghetti sauce is all about finding the right balance of flavors and techniques. Now that you know how to cook spaghetti sauce, you can experiment with different variations and modifications to create a sauce that suits your taste.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your ingredients and add your own personal touch to the recipe. Whether you prefer a meaty sauce or a vegetarian option, there are endless possibilities to explore. By using fresh tomatoes or choosing from a variety of meat options, you can customize your spaghetti sauce to perfection.

Not only is homemade spaghetti sauce delicious, but it also gives you the satisfaction of knowing that you made it from scratch. So, gather your ingredients, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to embark on a flavorful culinary adventure. Follow the easy homemade spaghetti sauce recipe we provided, and soon enough, you’ll be savoring a plate of spaghetti with a sauce that will make you proud.


How do I cook spaghetti sauce perfectly?

Learning how to cook spaghetti sauce perfectly takes practice, but there are a few key tips to keep in mind. One important step is to simmer the sauce for an extended period of time to allow the flavors to meld together. Browning the beef and onion before adding the other ingredients can also enhance the taste. Seasoning the sauce to your preference and adding fresh herbs can add depth of flavor.

What is the difference between spaghetti sauce, marinara sauce, and pizza sauce?

Spaghetti sauce is a more complex version of marinara sauce, often made with additional spices, meat, vegetables, and cheese. Marinara sauce is a simple tomato-based sauce typically made with tomatoes, garlic, onions, and herbs. Pizza sauce is similar to marinara sauce, but it is usually thicker and may contain additional spices specifically suited for topping pizza.

Can I make spaghetti sauce ahead of time and freeze it?

Yes, you can make spaghetti sauce ahead of time and freeze it for later use. Allow the sauce to cool completely before transferring it to airtight containers or freezer bags. Freeze the sauce for up to 3 months. To thaw, place the sauce in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave.

What are some recommended side dishes to serve with spaghetti sauce?

Spaghetti sauce pairs well with a variety of side dishes. Some popular options include garlic bread or breadsticks, a side salad with Italian dressing, roasted vegetables, or even a simple bowl of pasta topped with Parmesan cheese.

How can I enhance the flavor and texture of my spaghetti sauce?

To enhance the flavor and texture of your spaghetti sauce, you can adjust the seasoning to your preference. Adding fresh herbs like basil or oregano can add a burst of freshness. You can also experiment with adding additional ingredients such as mushrooms, bell peppers, or grated cheese for extra depth of flavor.

Can I make spaghetti sauce using fresh tomatoes?

Yes, you can make spaghetti sauce using fresh tomatoes. To do so, you will need to peel and pulse the tomatoes in a blender or food processor. This will give your sauce a vibrant and fresh flavor. You can then follow your preferred spaghetti sauce recipe using the fresh tomato puree.

What meat options can I add to spaghetti sauce?

Spaghetti sauce can be made with various meats. Some popular options include ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground Italian sausage. You can choose whichever meat you prefer or even mix different types of meat together for added flavor.

Can I customize my spaghetti sauce with different variations and modifications?

Absolutely! Spaghetti sauce is highly customizable, allowing you to experiment with different variations and modifications. You can add vegetables like zucchini or spinach, spices like red pepper flakes or Italian seasoning, or even cheese like Parmesan or mozzarella to create your own unique flavor profile.

How else can spaghetti sauce be used in recipes?

Spaghetti sauce is incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes. Some delicious options include using it in spaghetti pie, slow cooker lasagna, or making instant pot spaghetti. The sauce can also be used as a base for homemade pizza or simmered with meatballs for a classic Italian meal.

How should I reheat and store leftover spaghetti sauce?

To reheat leftover spaghetti sauce, simply heat it on the stovetop or in the microwave until warmed through. When storing leftover sauce, allow it to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container and refrigerating it for up to 3 days. If you want to store it for longer, you can freeze the sauce in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.

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