My husband and his family came to America from Italy on the "Andrea Dorea" on its penultimate voyage. Along with their hopes and ambitions, they brought their cuisine. This is the tomato "gravy" served by the mothers of Arce, Italy, and now, through my mother-in-law, by me.
In a large saucepan, saute the garlic in the olive oil.
Add meat and sear both sides (do not let garlic brown or burn).
Pour in both cans of sauce or puree and water.
Add herbs, and salt to taste.
Stir well and bring to a boil.
As soon as it begins to boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Serve over any kind of pasta, or use in recipes calling for Italian tomato sauce (like lasagne, ravioli, baked ziti, pizza, etc.).
NOTE: Sweet Italian sausage may be substituted for the beef; I used Johnsonville Brats. Pierce casings on sausage links, cook in boiling water for 10 minutes, cut into bite-size rounds, and saute in olive oil as above. Stir the sauce a bit more frequently when using the sausage so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. Be sure to cook the full 2 hours.