Thanks to Monsieur IOZ, I made this for dinner last night (well, without the mushrooms, since my wife has an unforgivable aversion to mushrooms even though she’s one of them I-talian-Americans), and the leftovers should last us through tomorrow at least. It was totally delicious, and the onions and shallots balanced the anise from the fennel beautifully; smelling this whole mixture simmering for nearly three hours was just as enjoyable as actually eating it. I paired it with an $8.00 bottle of Nero D’Avola wine from Sicily (also used for the braising liquid) which I figured would work well with the tomatoes and the gamey-ness of the beef shanks. The pairing did not disappoint. And yes, it really does look that unappetizing in the pot.