Chop the onion and mince the garlic. Saute in olive oil, be careful not to cook the garlic too long. I add the onion first, and the garlic for the last couple minutes of cooking.
Brown the ground beef, I drain and discard most of the fat.
In large pot add whole tomatoes (I chop each of these into smaller pieces in the pot.) Add the tomato sauce. Add the tomato paste. Add the beef and the onion/garlic mixture.
Add your red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp depending on how spicy you want it, oregano, basil, sugar, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste.
Mix well and simmer on low for 60-90 mins, stirring occasionally. Add 1/4 cup of water if it gets too thick while simmering. Remove bay leaf, and serve over pasta, top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.