I've had a hard time finding good-tasting Italian sausage where I live now. And then there's the questionable ingredients...So I set off to make my own with ground pork. This is a super easy recipe and tastes great. After making it, freeze it in chunks that are the size you will need. For example, I often put sausage on pizza, so a one-fourth-pound piece is about right for that. Toasting the fennel seeds (or any spice) really makes a difference in flavor, so don't skip that step. Also, I have a simple coffee/spice grinder that I use for spices. I don't know if a mortar and pestle will work or not, but my guess is yes.
adapted from Alton Brown
3/4 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon chopped parsley leaves or 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1 pound ground pork
Toast fennel seed in medium sized, heavy saute pan over medium heat, constantly moving seeds around in pan until they start to turn light brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once cool, grind seeds and combine with salt, pepper, and chopped parsley in medium mixing bowl. Add pork and blend thoroughly. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Use immediately or put in freezer for longer storage.