1. Add MORE CHEESE.
If you think there’s such a thing as a pizza that could not benefit from more cheese, you should probably go read some other post about pizza. This is not the one for you.
WHILE YOU WAIT: Grate a big-ass pile of cheese* and preheat your broiler/oven/toaster oven as hot as it will go.
*For best results, mix and match a melty cheese variety (mozzarella, fontina, Gruyére) with Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano, which pack a lot of flavor punch.
When your pizza arrives, slide the whole thing onto a large baking sheet if it fits OR move individual slices onto a plate/smaller pan. Sprinkle cheese enthusiastically all over pizza. Bake for 5 minutes or as long as it takes for the top coat of cheese to turn bubbling and golden. Take it out (use oven mitts; the pan will be hot!), eat, and never settle for the baseline level of cheese on your pizza again.
2. Sprinkle awesome stuff on it.
There is an elite group of ninja ingredients that can make any and every pizza more exciting.
WHILE YOU WAIT: Round up as many of these things as you like and have on hand:
red pepper flakes
chopped fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley, etc)
finely minced garlic
grated lemon zest
toasted pine nuts
nice extra virgin olive oil
pesto (thin out with a little olive oil if it’s too gloppy)
sriracha or another hot sauce
3. Cook your own vegetables.
Most of the “veggies” pizzerias use are soggy, weird-tasting, and prevent the cheese on the pizza from actually getting brown and crispy. You’re better off ordering a plain pizza and cooking the fresh vegetables you actually like at home.
WHILE YOU WAIT: Heat up a big skillet on medium-high and add a glug of oil. Once it’s hot, add your vegetables and season with salt (give onions a few minutes’ head start if you’re using them). Cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re softened and yummy. Here are some good options:
Red or yellow onions
Broccoli or broccoli rabe
Make more than you think you’ll need! You can throw any leftovers into something else.
4. Amp up the meat.
Ordering pepperoni is a great place to start. But you can take your pizza to new, more carnivorous heights with minimal DIY effort.
WHILE YOU WAIT: Buy/cook/prepare your meat of choice. A few ideas:
Bacon! Cook a few pieces in a pan or a whole bunch in the oven (like so).
Salt and pepper a piece of skirt or flank steak; slice thinly and sear in a hot pan until browned.
Cook ground beef with chopped onion, salt, pepper, and maybe a little ketchup to make hamburger pizza.
Shred some leftover rotisserie chicken.
Chop up a boneless chicken breast and sauté with salt, garlic and olive oil. Add cumin, oregano, and chile powder to make it Tex-Mex.
Order some fried chicken at the same time you call for pizza. Chop up the breast pieces, making sure to retain all crispy crust bits. YUP.
Order some BBQ pulled pork (or use leftovers, if you’re lucky enough to have them).
Slice up a few nice Italian sausages and cook them. This will probably taste better than the mysterious sausage nubbins most pizzerias use.
Cut leftover ham, salami, or other cold cuts into thin strips and give it a really quick spin in a hot pan to get crispy and delicious.
5. Put a salad on it.
Burying a hot slice of pizza in arugula might seem upsetting or wrong at first, but is actually a brilliant combo and has the added bonus of making you feel healthy and virtuous about eating bread covered in cheese.
WHILE YOU WAIT: Make a simple vinaigrette.
1/4 cup lemon juice (or white wine vinegar, or a combo) + more if you like a dressing with some attitude
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 clove of garlic, minced or grated on a microplane grater
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
Put it all in a mason jar or something else with a tight lid and SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE until it’s blended together. Taste and add more salt/oil/acid/mustard until it’s the way you like it. Toss your greens with the dressing and then grind lots of pepper over the salad.
6. Go international.
The Italians may get credit for inventing pizza, but they don’t get to tell you how to eat it forever.
WHILE YOU WAIT: Figure out which topping combo pack is right for you and round up/prep the ingredients. A few ideas:
Greek-ish: feta cheese, roasted eggplant, olives, red onion
Mexican-ish: black beans, corn, hot sauce, cilantro
French-ish: goat cheese, thyme, sliced figs
Spanish-ish: manchego cheese, ham, smoked paprika
Chinese-ish: cooked ground pork, chili sauce, sliced scallions
Indian-ish: roasted cauliflower, peas, curry powder
7. Put an egg on it.
FACT: 87% of all foods on earth taste better with a fried egg on top.
WHILE YOU WAIT: Fry an egg (or lots of eggs) sunny-side up, just until the yolk is starting to set but still runny in the middle. Best to do this right before or right after the pizza arrives.
ALTERNATIVE: For best possible integration, preheat your oven to maximum temp and pop the pizza in with a raw egg cracked on top. Bake until the egg is cooked.