Make Ahead Pasta and Chickpeas (Sauce Only)

Prep once and eat two or four times
20 minutes Total Time
20 minutes to prep
4 1/2 cups

This make ahead sauce is very similar to the original version I made here.

I wanted to create a version that I could freeze and have on hand for those nights when I don't feel like putting in much effort. This version is even more simple and has a some benefits over the original. 

  • Making the sauce base in a big batch means I only have to clean the food processor one time.
  • I don't always have pancetta, rosemary, and celery on hand, so when I buy it, it is nice to be able to use it up and prepare for 4 dinners at once time.
  • The leftovers of this dish are not as good as on the first night and I'm normally just feeding this to two people. Dividing the sauce into portions that will be eaten on the night it is made works better for me.


Once I freeze the sauce paste, making the final dish involves a few steps and takes less than a half-hour. 

It is really nice to have these little flavor pucks in the freezer so I can make a super simple dinner when I don't feel like cooking. It still takes some time to prepare, but the effort is minimal. 

Each ½ cup of sauce will be used in this linked recipe to make 2 servings. 

My other version of this uses bacon instead of pancetta and that will still work here. Fresh rosemary adds good flavor here so it is worth buying some for this recipe. I will often chop the extra rosemary and freeze it in the winter, when I don't have a plant. It keeps its flavor after being frozen. 



  • Gather and prep ingredients. Note that the first ingredients are for the sauce base. The ingredients starting with the olive oil are for when you are ready to actually make the dish. So the proportions are only correct if you want to make 2 servings after you make the base.
    Step 0
  • Process the pancetta in the food processor so that it forms a paste. I buy my pancetta diced, but if you have a large chunk, you might want to cut it into a large dice first. You may need to scrape the bowl down a few times.
    Step 1
  • Add the carrot, celery, onion, and garlic to the food processor. Pulse the processor about 10 times until the vegetables are finely chopped.
    Step 2
  • Add the red pepper and rosemary to the food processor and pulse another 10 times to evenly distribute.
    Step 3
  • You should have at least 2 cups of pancetta and vegetable mixture. The exact measurement will depend on how big your vegetables were. Divide into 4 separate generous 1/2 cup portions. Or you can divide in half to make this twice serving 4 people. I like to use a half-cup measuring cup and invert it onto a plate covered with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap makes it easier to remove the frozen portions later. Cover with more plastic and put the plate in the freezer. Freeze for at least 2 hours or until solid. You can also put it in plastic or glass containers if you have the appropriate size.
    Step 4
  • When the vegetable-pancetta blocks are fairly solid, wrap completely with plastic wrap and store in a plastic bag for more protection. These can be used later to make the meal.
    Step 5

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