Rinse and dry the basil leaves. PEEL and coarsely CHOP the garlic.
PLACE the salt, garlic, basil, and pine nuts in a mortar. Mash with a pestle until smooth. Add the cheeses. Slowly add the olive oil, blending it, until it becomes creamy. Alternately, this can be done in a blender.
Bring lightly-salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta "al dente." Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking liquid. MIX the pesto sauce into the pasta and add the reserved cooking liquid.
Notes: Although pesto is thought of as strictly Italian, it is dish of Persian origin! This dish is largely associated with Liguria, as the basil that grows there is sweeter and more aromatic than in any other part of the country.
Fresh basil leaves, stems removed 3 large bunches
Trenette or linguine 1 1/2 lbs/750 g
Garlic cloves 5
Pine nuts 1/4 cup/
Coarse salt 1/2 tsp
Olive oil 10 tbs
Freshly grated Pecorino-Romano cheese 1 tbs
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese 3 tbs
Mortar and pestle or blender