Heat oil in a large, nonreactive skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
Place tomatoes in a large bowl, reserving juices. Crush tomatoes using your hands. Add tomatoes and reserved juices to skillet. Stir in red pepper, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove sauce from heat, stir in cheese. Remove bay leaves before serving.