Heat the EVOO in a pot over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta, if using, and brown to crisp, then add the fennel seed. Add the meat, brown and crumble, then season with salt and pepper.
Once the meat is browned well, add the chili peppers, onion, garlic and fresh or dried oregano and cook until the onion is translucent, 8-10 minutes more. Add the beans and stir in the tomato paste. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant, then add the wine or beer. Let the liquid cook down, then stir in the stock. Simmer to combine the flavors.
Serve in bowls topped with cheese and basil or chopped onion, if desired.
This is one of many “Yum-o!” recipes – it’s good and good for you. To find out more about Yum-o!, Rachael’s nonprofit organization, visit