1Place the tomatoes with their juices in a medium bowl and, using your fingers, break into rough 1-inch pieces; set aside.
2Heat the oil in a medium frying pan until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, paprika, and red pepper flakes, stir to combine, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the reserved tomatoes and their liquid, water, salt, bay leaf, and sugar and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, is darker in color, and has reduced by about half, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and transfer the sauce to a blender.
3Purée until smooth, removing the small cap from the blender lid (the pour lid) and covering the space with a kitchen towel (this allows steam to escape and prevents the blender lid from popping off). Add the vinegar and Tabasco and pulse to combine. Taste and season with additional salt, vinegar, or Tabasco as desired.