Black Pepper Chitarra with Zucchini and Garlic Scapes

2 medium zucchini, julienned
1 pound chitarra or spaghetti style pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
10 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, plus more for garnish
1 bunch garlic scapes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Kosher salt
1/4 cup bread crumbs
4 sprigs mint, leaves only, torn
Freshly cracked black pepper

With a mandoline adjusted to a thick setting and fit with a medium julienne tool, slice the zucchini, avoiding the seedy core. Be sure to cut only the green meaty part, stopping on each side before you get to the seeds. Reserve the seedy core of the zucchini for another use.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt. Place the pasta in the water and cook until al dente, 7 to 8 minutes (2 to 3 minutes if using fresh pasta).

As the pasta cooks, warm the olive oil in a large sauté pan over low heat. Add the garlic and sweat until fragrant but without color, about 1 minute. Stir in the red pepper flakes.

Use tongs to transfer the pasta to the sauté pan. Add 1 cup pasta water, the garlic scapes, and zucchini. Toss over low heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until the fettuccine has absorbed the sauce and the zucchini has softened slightly. Add the cheese and toss once more. If needed, add more pasta water to loosen the pasta.

Stir in the lemon juice and zest. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt if desired. To serve, evenly divide the pasta among four bowls. Top each portion with bread crumbs, cheese, mint, cracked black pepper, and extra red pepper flakes.