Venetian Chicken Casserole with Porcini Mushrooms and Fontina
  1. Generously butter a 9-by-13-inch or another shallow 3-qt baking dish.
  2. Put the porcini mushrooms in a strainer and rinse under running water to remove any grit. Then put them in a medium bowl and cover with 2 cups of boiling water. Let stand until softened, 15 to 20 minutes. Strain the mushrooms and soaking liquid over a bowl through a strainer lined with a paper towel, pressing down on the mushrooms with a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Reserve the soaking liquid. Coarsely chop the porcini and set aside.
  3. Place a chicken breast on a work surface and, with a sharp knife held parallel with the surface, cut the breast in half horizontally. Repeat with the remaining breasts. You will have eight chicken pieces. In a shallow dish, whisk the curry powder and olive oil together. Dip each breast into the oil and coat well on both sides.
  4. Place a heavy, large frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add as many chicken breasts as will fit comfortably in a single layer. Cook until lightly browned on both sides, turning several times, 5 to 6 minutes total. Remove the cooked chicken to the baking dish, and arrange in a single layer. Continue until all the chicken has been sautéed. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  5. Melt the butter in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the sliced brown mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and no liquid remains, 5 minutes or more. Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of the sherry to the pan. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute. Add the reserved porcini, 1 cup of the reserved soaking liquid, the cream, and the remaining sherry. Cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens very slightly, about 5 minutes.
  6. Top each chicken breast with a slice of prosciutto, cut to fit. (You may have some prosciutto left over.) Sprinkle an equal amount of fontina cheese over each prosciutto-covered breast. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at cool room temperature for 1 hour to develop the flavors. (To make the casserole a day ahead, cover and refrigerate the chicken, omitting the resting time. Bring to room temperature for 30 minutes, and continue with the recipe.)
  7. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Bake, uncovered, until the cheese has melted and the chicken is hot all the way through, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the parsley before serving.