I like the meat sauce that I make, and everyone tells me it’s good. Let me state however, that I am a Missouri hillbilly who moved to Texas 27+ years ago, and I don’t know of one drop of Italian blood in my veins, so basically I don’t know sh*t from Shinola about making a "real" sauce. Over the years I just played with making it, and here’s what I usually do:
Saute a small white onion, chopped, in olive oil until the pieces just start to brown. Smash 5 to 10 garlic cloves with your knife blade and throw those in right before adding about a pound of ground beef (usually chuck). Add some salt, but not much. After the meat browns, pour in some of your favorite beef broth and add spices. I most often just use McCormick’s Italian blend, but if you want to add fresh herbs, go for it.
I let this simmer for about an hour. I then add a big can of crushed tomatoes (28 oz, I think) and about a cup of red wine. I cover the pot, turn the heat down to where it just slightly bubbles, and let nature do its magic.
I rarely simmer for less than 3 hours after that, but it could be longer. I remove the cover after a couple of hours to let the moisture dissipate. (Assuming you have extra moisture; just keep an eye on it.)
Many cooks who are better than me insist that the sauce should only be cooked for about 30 minutes to an hour, but I really like the sharp taste that develops with the long cooking time.
This goes great with any kind of pasta, polenta, in lasagna, whatever.
If Mr. Hoffman, twinwillow, or the fabulous lleechef are lurking around, I know they all make great sauces which are no doubt much better than mine. Perhaps they can chime in.