Although it's vegetarian, this robust stew will appeal to meat lovers because it's chock full of protein-rich beans and filling vegetables like eggplant and fennel. It's also fast and easy enough to make for a mid-week meal and makes great leftovers for lunch the next day. For a variation, substitute chickpeas, feta cheese, and fresh oregano for the cannellini beans, Parmesan, and fresh rosemary. Green Cerignola olives, which are meaty and not too salty, are available at most markets that sell fresh olives; they're also found at Italian specialty markets. Another Greek or Italian green olive can be substituted. —Food Blogga
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add onions, and sauté until just transparent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and fennel, and cook 2 minutes. Add eggplant and peppers, and cook 3-4 minutes, or until slightly softened. Add wine, and cook 5 minutes. Add tomatoes. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender but not mushy. Add olives, cannellini beans, lemon zest, fennel seeds, salt, and crushed red pepper. Stir well, and cook until heated through, 3-4 minutes. Stir in fresh herbs.
Serve with crusty Italian bread, or serve atop polenta, rice, or wide pasta noodles, such as parpadelle. Garnish individual servings with desired amount of grated cheese.