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A ravioli bridge to the past

Making ravioli "represents this great connection with all the people who have done it over the years."

Joshua Huston

For Hannah Viano, Christmas ravioli are a bridge to family and to the past.

Her great-grandfather brought the pasta recipe from Italy to America decades ago. Making it for Christmas “was something we always did,” Hannah said. “My family was not traditional in any other way.”

Now the Seattle mom carries on the tradition each year with her husband, Joe Talbert, and their 6-year-old son, Ely Talbert.

It’s a laborious job grinding the meat, rolling out the dough, making dozens of little meat-filled pockets and slicing them up with a special ravioli cutter. But the ritual is special to Hannah, and now to her son as well.

“The making of all those squares and the running of the ravioli cutter has been a huge hit,” Hannah said. “That’s the job he’s taken over.”

They make the ravioli wherever they’re celebrating Christmas, including out-of-state trips to visit in-laws. They eat it with family on Christmas and they make sure there’s enough to share with friends the day after on Boxing Day. 

“Many, many times over the years I haven’t had the recipe with me, and I’m trying to make them on a boat or in a tiny kitchen, and it’s a wonderful excuse to call someone up who is not there and see if they have it,” Hannah said.

Making the ravioli, she said, “represents this great connection with all the people who have done it over the years.”

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