Carnacina may have been confusing saltimbocca with the common northern Italian dish known as uccellini scappati, "little escaped birds", which consists of pieces of veal or pork threaded onto skewers along with pancetta and sage leaves. In fact, as I began to hunt for saltimbocca recipes, I found many dishes that seemed designed with the same goal in mind: to give lean, mild-tasting meat more flavor and texture by adding sage and cured pork. I also discovered numerous regional variations on traditional saltimbocca: in Sorrento, a city in the southwestern region of Campania, for example, cooks add a layer of mozzarella under the prosciutto; in other places, fish, chicken, or pork forms the foundation of the dish. While purists insist that a proper saltimbocca alla romana should be cooked and served flat, other reputable sources, including the iconic cookbook Il cucchiaio d'argento (The Silver Spoon), published in Italy in 1950, calls for rolling the saltimbocca into a tidy bundle, bringing it closer to the genre of Italian dishes called involtini, which consist of rolled meats stuffed with various ingredients, from bread crumbs to herbs. This rolled style seems to be the progenitor of the version I knew from Pittsburgh, while the flat version, after emigrating to the States, joined a battery of quick, robust sauteed dishes, like veal piccata and chicken marsala, that were staples of midcentury white-tablecloth restaurants. They endure today, even in new-breed Italian spots like Al di La, a celebrated restaurant in Brooklyn, New York, that has offered saltimbocca (a classic take, except that it's made with pork) since the restaurant opened, in 1998. "From a cook's perspective, it's a very fast pickup," explains the chef and co-owner, Anna Klinger. "I love the simplicity and the deep flavor one gets from just a few ingredients."