Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Add onion and saute until soft and starting to lightly brown
Add beef and let brown, breaking it up and moving it with a wooden spoon
When beef is cooked through, add sugar and dry spices (any Italian dried herbs are really fine to use--basil, oregano, thyme or the Italian mix), then add garlic and let cook for 1 minute
Add cans of tomato, breaking them up with a potato masher works well for whole tomatoes or chop them with a knife or food processor
Let sauce simmer on low for 1 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add parsley or basil in the last half hour before serving
When ready to serve, cook pasta following package instructions. Top with sauce and grated Parmesan cheese