My family is fortunate to live in the upper Midwest where farm-raised pork is plentiful. We buy a half a hog every year from Snake River Farm Minnesota, who raises their pigs on non-GMO grain and lets them forage on pasture, making for both happy and tasty pigs. Eating lots of grass, roots, bugs and plants give the pork an amazingly rich, old-fashioned flavor, which is totally different and more delicious than commercial pork.
I have the butcher leave my hog in large cuts so I can cure my own charcuterie, making things like ham, bacon and sausage. The easiest of these cured meats to make is bulk sausage. The beauty of making your own sausage from scratch is that you can use your own quality meat, customize the flavorings, and leave out anything artificial.
My recipe for garlic sausage, a savory blend with lots of garlic and wine, goes perfectly in lasagna or homemade ravioli, along with a companion recipe for making fresh ricotta.
Garlic Sausage Recipe
1 1/2 lb pork shoulder
3 large garlic cloves
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1 tsp red chili flakes
1/2 cup rose wine
Make your sausage the day before you want to eat it so that the seasonings and wine will have time to infuse the pork with flavor. Cut the pork shoulder into 1/2" chunks. In a food processor mince the garlic, salt, pepper and chilies.
Add the pork shoulder and pulse to chop. When finely chopped, process at full speed and drizzle in the wine. Blend until the sausage is sticky looking and the fat has begun to emulsify with the wine. Refrigerate for 24 hours. Cook within a week or package and store in the freezer.