The Easiest Way To Dress Up Aldi's Pre-Packaged Risotto So It Looks Homemade

If you happen to consider budget an important factor when doing your meal planning and grocery shopping, there's a good chance you've walked the aisles of the grocery chain Aldi at least once or twice. And though one of the best ways to stick to a strict grocery budget is to pass by comparatively pricier packaged, processed foods and make your own from whole ingredients instead, life can get busy and sometimes you need a few quick convenience meals that can be whipped up at a moment's notice. Pre-packaged risotto definitely fits that bill, especially since homemade risotto can be quite a time-consuming commitment.

The problem is, whether you're just dishing up that ready-made meal for yourself or serving your family and friends, they're often relatively uninspiring when it comes to presentation. Not to mention, you might find them a bit bland for your taste if you're used to seasoning your homemade meals liberally.

Don't worry — there's a quick, easy way to upgrade that pre-packaged risotto so it looks like something you lovingly made from scratch. Once you plate up your portions of risotto, take a moment to finish it off with a few garnishes. The best choices will depend on the exact pre-made risotto flavor you've purchased, but fresh herbs and freshly-grated cheese are always solid picks.

Rules of thumb to level up your ready-made meals

So, say you have a few different ingredients that you think may pair well with the Aldi risotto you've purchased, but you're just not quite sure which herbs, cheese, or other additions to go with. There are a few handy rules of thumb to keep in mind.

First of all, think of your pre-made risotto as the base of your dish, and figure out the flavor profile based on what seasonings and spices are already present. If you've opted for an Italian-inspired garlic risotto, for example, fresh basil or rosemary and a few shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino might be just the ticket. For something that's paella-inspired, weave in the flavors of Spain with some grated Manchego and crumbled, crispy pieces of Iberico ham. The possibilities are endless.

And, while a little garnish can go a long way in making your dish more aesthetically pleasing, don't be afraid to doctor up your dish far before you get to the plating stage. Adding some protein into your risotto or even a handful of extra veggies can give your dish more of a homemade quality, as well as added flavor (and you can still top it with your chosen garnishes to really create an impressive dish).