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Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat (we use a Dutch oven). Add the meat and cook until browned, about 8 minutes. As the meat cooks, use a wooden spoon to break it up into smaller crumbles.
Add the onions and cook, stirring every once and a while, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring continuously for about 1 minute.
Pour in the water and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any bits of meat or onion stuck to the bottom of the pot. Stir in the tomatoes, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and a generous pinch of black pepper. Bring the sauce to a low simmer. Cook, uncovered, at a low simmer for 25 minutes. As it cooks, stir and taste the sauce a few times so you can adjust the seasoning accordingly (see notes for suggestions).
About 15 minutes before the sauce is finished cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil then cook pasta according to package directions, but check for doneness a minute or two before the suggested cooking time.
Take the sauce off of the heat, and then stir in the basil. Toss in the cooked pasta, and then leave for a minute so that the pasta absorbs some of the sauce. Toss again, and then serve with parmesan sprinkled on top.