Italian for "pounded," pesto is an uncooked sauce made with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan or pecorino cheese and olive oil. The ingredients can be crushed with mortar and pestle or finely chopped with a food processor. This classic, fresh-tasting sauce originated in Genoa, Italy, and although used on a variety of dishes, it is a favorite with pasta. Now there are "pestos" made from myriad other ingredients from mint.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.