This bright green, aromatic and flavorful sauce originated in Genoa, Italy. Traditionally this thick sauce is made by pulverizing or pounding large quantities of basil leaves with pine nuts, olive oil, garlic and Parmesan cheese. This can be done with a mortal and pestle or with a food processor. Although traditionally served tossed with fresh cooked pasta, pesto is regularly served with a variety of dishes from fish to chicken.
The word “pesto” in Italian translates to “pounding” in English so as such any leaf be it cilantro or mint pounded with the other remaining ingredients qualifies as pesto. See Rocket Pesto for more on this subject.