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Leftovers: Gumba’s Italian restaurant delivers big portions, but something is missing

The side of Rigatoni from Gumba's in Sunnyvale.

The side of Rigatoni from Gumba’s in Sunnyvale.

At some point in all of our dining-out journeys, we encounter a restaurant that delivers on quantity but struggles in quality.

I encountered this scenario at Gumba’s in Sunnyvale, which boasts popular menu items such as Spinach Ravioli, Chicken Parmigiana and Vegetarian Lasagna Dela Casa. I hate wasting food, so I took this as an opportunity to reuse some leftovers and turn them into a meal that I could enjoy.

Dish of Choice

I chose Gumba’s because it was one of the restaurants featured on the select menu for downtown Sunnyvale’s Jazz & Beyond, an event where people can enjoy outdoor dining while listening to local musicians along the Historic Murphy Avenue.

I was hoping one of my favorite restaurants – Tarragon – would be featured on the menu because I was craving its Salmon entree with garlic mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables and sauce made with olive oil, lemon and herbs. Tarragon wasn’t part of the menu, so I chose Gumba’s, which was featuring its Grilled Salmon with Roasted Vegetables for about $17, plus tax.

Making zucchini rigatoni out of my leftovers.

Making zucchini rigatoni out of my leftovers.

The Taste

To Gumba’s credit, the restaurant gave me a lot of food for what I paid. In addition to my entree, I also received a choice of soup or salad – I chose salad – two pieces of garlic bread and a side of rigatoni.

That being said, I did not enjoy my meal, therefore there is a lack of photos. The salmon was overcooked and lacked succulence and flavor; the salad was just romaine lettuce and a big slice of tomato, and the side of ranch was thin and runny; the garlic bread was hard and did not taste fresh; and the vegetables lacked that toasty look and flavor that comes with roasted vegetables.

Doctoring the leftovers

I took the remaining vegetables, salad, rigatoni and garlic bread home, determined to create something new the next day.

(Check out this video: Gumba’s Leftovers)

The rigatoni was tender, but there wasn’t much sauce. Luckily, I had some fresh zucchini on hand, so I chopped it up and sauteed it with a tablespoon of butter on low heat on a stove. I covered the skillet with a lid and occasionally stirred the zucchini for about 5 or so minutes (I didn’t want the zucchini to get too mushy).

My creation made from my leftovers from Gumba's in Sunnyvale.

My creation made from my leftovers from Gumba’s in Sunnyvale.

After the zucchini was at the right amount of tenderness, I tossed the rigatoni into the skillet with the zucchini. I added a couple dashes of garlic powder and minced onion, along with pinches of salt and pepper. I covered the skillet with the lid and cooked the dish for another 5 or so minutes, stirring occasionally.

I plated my zucchini rigatoni and sprinkled it with herb and garlic feta. I also tried to revitalize the garlic bread by re-toasting it in the skillet with butter. However, the bread was already hard before, so re-toasting it just made it tougher.

However, I enjoyed the rigatoni. The zucchini added some needed freshness and the garlic powder and minced onion woke up the pasta sauce. I love cheese on my pasta, so I think the strong flavor of feta went a long way.

Overall, I’d say it was a leftover success.

In what creative ways have you reused restaurant leftovers? Feel free to comment below, but keep it civil, please :-).

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Posted by on July 22, 2015 in comfort food, food, Italian, leftovers

 

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