Bizarre to use shiitake mushrooms, I know, but I had no choice: my local grocery was out of all other mushrooms.
The homemade Italian-style pork sausage turned out brilliantly. One thing I've come to learn, now that I've made this sort of sausage (without skin) several times, is that fennel seeds, while key to evoking the Italianness of Italian sausage, can be used sparingly to produce this effect. For three pounds of ground pork, I used a bit more than a half-teaspoon of fennel seeds, and that turned out to be plenty. Good to remember: those seeds are potent.
If the sausage lacks anything, though, it's the sort of fattiness I expect from the store-bought version. The next time I make more, I'm going to experiment a bit and add a spicy oil; my local grocery sells several types of those, including one that purports to be hellishly hot. I'm not actually looking to make hellishly spicy sausage, but that might be interesting to try some day.