Originally Posted by kuan
a more serious note, a half cup of vodka seems a lot. That's like a sixth of a bottle. In most recipes function of alcohol is to deglaze the pan with added flavor being a side effect of the type of alcohol being used. Try a different beverage. I know some people who have used coca-cola!
This isn't a deglaze. Penne ala Vodka, as I learned to make it was a tomato sauce with plenty of bacon or prosciutto, a good amount of vodka added and then reduced down to a volume less than the volume you had originally of just tomato sauce alone. For a large enough batch to feed at least four people, that's not a lot of vodka at all, and after simmering for at least 20 minutes, then richness added by both heavy cream and cheese, the alcoholic taste will be subtle even in that quantity. Promise. This is actually an excellent way to improve sauce that is... well... poor or even awful. But I've made enough tomato sauces and stews in my time to know Cognac, Bourbon, or Brandy are all way better choices.