Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic, season with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the ground beef, season with another pinch of salt and pepper flakes (if using) and cook, stirring and breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, season with salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly reduced, 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the basil and oregano and simmer a few minutes more to infuse their flavor. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve with fresh pappardelle or your favorite pasta.