This recipe came about last week when it was (still is by the way) freakishly cold out and I wanted something great for dinner.  I hadn’t planned ahead (at all) other than to play my favourite game, take random meat out of the freezer in the morning.  I knew that I needed to use my stewing beef and I had a yen for minestrone soup.  BUT I needed to feed everybody something a lot more stick-to-your-ribs than a clear soup.  So…
Minestrone stew.
I started by sauteeing: 1/2 an onion, a rib of celery, 2 cups mushrooms and 2 cups of stewing beef.
I added; 1 1/2 tsp. basil, the rind (no white part) of one lemon, pinch of chilli flakes and 1 T. fennel seeds.  I know, I know, it isn’t pretty yet but just wait.
This isn’t the pretty part.  Add 1/4 cup of flour and saute for a minute to coat everything and avoid having a raw flour taste to your stew.
This also, not the pretty part.
Add (stirring the whole time to avoid lumps), 1/2 cup of red wine (you can leave it out if you’d prefer) and 3 cups of beef broth.
1/4 cup of pitted olives (in oil not brine) and 1/2 cup of crushed tomatoes.
2 cups of uncooked penne. 
No.  Not pretty yet.
Let the pasta cook through (about 10 minutes) and here’s the pretty part.
I topped the stew with a few shavings of parmesan and husband ate three bowls.
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