Dessert Ravioli

Dessert Ravioli with honey on top
Dessert Ravioli with honey on top

1910, John Matrachisia arrived in Rochester, NY after a long journey from Sicily, and with him the recipe I now know as dessert raviolis. Each year on Christmas Eve, we make the ravioli which are fried and have a pie-like crust filled with ricotta, cinnamon and a pinch of sugar. John was a farmer before immigrating alone at 17 and this is where he would meet his wife and first cousin, Michalina. Together they would have 7 kids, all of which would help work on the farm they owned. John loved farming and the outdoors so he was devastated when he was stricken with disease at 50, causing lower body paralysis .While the details were kept quiet, it was rumored to be syphilis, which he would live with for another 10 years before passing away. The prejudice against Italians and living with the effects of syphilis may have contributed to his children describing him as “very strict”. No talking was allowed at dinners. However, John was eager to learn English as he wanted to “become American”. Family was a key part in adapting and as such, was highly valued. They would have big family picnics and at special events, John would make the raviolis. They were a treat to have because the ingredients were not always affordable or easy to find. While it was never written down, he taught his children (specifically my great grandfather) how to make them, and it was passed down to my mother and aunts who recently tried to record the recipe. Today we still fry them in lard rather than oil, because it is, of course, the trick to a crispier crust. 

Place(s): Rochester New York, Sicily Italy
Year: 1910

– Reece Hefner (Audio: Margaret, Granddaughter of John)

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more