Over medium-high heat, heat olive oil in the bottom of large saucepan. Poke holes on both sides of the sausage. Add to the pan and let brown. You can omit the sausage if you want, but they add a lot of flavor to the sauce and are highly recommended.
Once the sausage is brown on all sides, move them to the sides of the pan and add the garlic in the middle of the sausages. Cook until just begin to turn brown. Mix back with sausage. Add tomato paste plus one can of water from sauce can. Let cook about 3 minutes.
Add crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Clean out each can with a small amount of water to get all the remaining tomatoes and add to saucepan (do not fill the cans all the way with water--they should only be filled about 1/4 of the way, just enough to rinse out tomatoes).
Add the rest of the seasonings. Cover and let cook on medium heat. Once the sauce starts boiling, cover and simmer on low heat. Stir every 30 minutes until done, usually at least 5 hours (or if using sausage, until it is fully cooked through--they should be soft when pierced with a fork). Taste and add ingredients accordingly. If one ingredient is overpowering, you can add another can of tomato sauce to even it out. If too garlicy, add some more Parmesan cheese.
If adding meatballs to make a meat sauce, cook them all the way through and add to the sauce 1-2 hours before the sauce is done cooking. Once done, remove bay leaves and cheese rind (if used). Mix with your favorite pasta. Enjoy!
by The Savvy Kitchen