But why vodka? It's mostly tasteless, and colorless. Why not wine? Why not leave it out entirely?
There are flavor compounds in foods, especially in tomatoes, that are alcohol soluble. That means these flavors are not released unless they are mixed with alcohol. That is why we add alcohol to many dishes, knowing that the alcohol itself will "cook out", prior to serving, yet leaving something subtle and wonderful in its wake. In this case, the vodka adds a peppery complexity you wouldn't get with wine. Serve with a side of crushed red pepper flakes and grated Parmesan cheese and something magical happens.
Although I honestly don't care at ALL for the taste of vodka by itself or in a mixed drink, it added to a marvelous blend of flavors. With only a few ingredients and two pans it was just the "shot" I needed tonight.