Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Sir as needed to avoid burning.
Crush the tomatoes in your hand as you pour them into the pot. Don’t worry about crushing them too evenly. Having some larger chunks of tomatoes will help build to more complex and varied texture.
Pour 1/4 cup water into the tomato can. Swish the water around to get all of the tomato juice from the sides. Pour into skillet and stir.
Add the bay leaf and salt.
Bring the sauce to a vigorous simmer, then lower the heat to medium but maintain a medium simmer. Continue simmering until the sauce is slightly reduced and thickened, about 25 or more minutes. Stir as needed.
Remove the bay leaf and serve the sauce immediately over pasta.